Improving the Usability of a MAS DSML

Tomás Miranda, Moharram Challenger, Baris Tekin Tezel, Omer Faruk Alaca, Ankica Barišić, Vasco Amaral, Miguel Goulão, Geylani Kardas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Context: A significant effort has been devoted to the design and implementation of various domain-specific modeling languages (DSMLs) for the software agents domain. Problem: Language usability is often tackled in an ad-hoc way, with the collection of anecdotal evidence supporting the process. However, usability plays an important role in the productivity, learnability and, ultimately, in the adoption of a MAS DSML by agent developers. Method: In this chapter, we discuss how the principles of The “Physics” of Notations (PoN) can be applied to improve the visual notation of a MAS DSML, called SEA_ML and evaluate the result in terms of usability. Results: The evolved version of the language, SEA_ML++, was perceived as significantly improved in terms of icons comprehensibility, adequacy and usability, as a direct result of employing the principles of PoN. However, users were not significantly more efficient and effective with SEA_ML++, suggesting these 2 properties were not chiefly constrained by the identified shortcomings of the SEA_ML concrete syntax.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering Multi-Agent Systems - 6th International Workshop, EMAS 2018, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsViviana Mascardi, Danny Weyns, Alessandro Ricci
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-25693-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-25692-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Event6th International Workshop on Engineering Multi-Agent Systems, EMAS 2018 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 14 Jul 201815 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Volume11375 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference6th International Workshop on Engineering Multi-Agent Systems, EMAS 2018


  • Domain specific modeling language
  • Multi-agent systems
  • Physics of Notations
  • SEA_ML
  • Usability


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