Impact of layout’s flow consistency in Business Process Models on their understandability

  • C.J. Luna

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Business process models represent step-by-step rules, as flow of activities, to reach a specific business goal. Understanding these models is then of importance. This understandability is impacted by different model factors, like the model’s direction (part of the visual layout). Modeling conventions and guidelines promote a direction to design a model (i.e. left-to-right or top-to-bottom). In the end, the modeler has the freedom to decide how a process model will be designed. Some models are not designed 100% consistent with the same direction. Others are re-designed to fit into a format size, changing the model’s layout and flow consistency. This research seeks to identify how this decision of changing the model’s layout impacts the model’s understandability, searching for a relationship between the model’s flow consistency and its understandability. This is researched with an online experiment using two Process Models in four different layouts (each with different flow consistency), comparing left-to-right layouts with less researched model layouts, i.e. zig-zag and banana layouts. While there seemed to be a tendency suggesting that banana and zig-zag layouts are less understandable than left-to-right layouts, no significant effect could be established. Also, no significant relationship was proved between the model’s flow consistency and its understandability.
Date of Award27 Jun 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorIrene Vanderfeesten (Examiner) & Ben Roelens (Co-assessor)


  • Flow Consistency
  • Flow Direction
  • Understandability
  • Model Layout
  • Business Process Models

Master's Degree

  • Master Business Process management & IT (BPMIT)

Cite this