Designs can talk: A case of feedback for design evolution in assistive technology

  • Robinson W
  • Fickas S
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Requirements engineers gain insights and make improvements on their requirements specifications, as they are applied in natural contexts. Software artifacts are particularly useful requirements instantiations because feedback can be obtained directly from software. Software talks to its designers about its requirements. We illustrate requirements feedback with a case study in assistive technology (AT). A specialized emailing system was designed for cognitively impaired patients in an effort to decrease their social isolation, which often occurs after a brain injury. The patients continue to expand their email system usage, which is remarkable for AT. We attribute this unusual success to the feedback obtained directly from the software, through monitoring user goal models. Such monitoring has allowed the developers to understand and evolve their software to meet the changing user needs. It illustrates how an operational artifact, like software, can drive design evolution.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Design science
  • Evolution
  • Requirements monitoring

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  • William N. Robinson

  • Stephen Fickas

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