A concept map is a visual representation of concepts and information in a hierarchical manner. The main ideas are usually placed at the top and the ideas connected to them are placed at the bottom, while arrows indicate the links between them. The following are some of the most important aspects of a concept map:
The purpose of a concept map is to present an idea, concept, or problem. For example, the idea, concept, or problem can relate to a potential software product or service. In such a scenario, the concept map may be used as a means to present a roadmap toward the final product or service to potential clients. An example of a problem statement may be ‘‘What does the login system of our application look like?"’
Nodes can be information, ideas, or objects in concept maps. These are depicted with a circle or rectangle that encloses information in it. In the case of the example stated above, the node can be a feature of the login system.
The relationship between concepts is shown via links in concept maps. These explain how concepts and ideas are related and are represented by arrows in concept maps.
Linking words show the relationship between two concepts and appear on the lines connecting them.
Requirement engineering is the process of drawing the requirements and desires of stakeholders and documenting and maintaining them during the design process of a system. This serves as a foundation for all the development activities of a project. Concept maps can be used in requirement engineering in the following ways:
The example below shows how concept maps can be beneficial in requirement engineering.
The following are the requirements specified by a client during the design of a login system of an application:
"The login system contains a login page containing a password, email address, and a login button that returns the homepage of a website upon entering the correct credentials of users. Credentials are verified by querying through the database. An incorrect attempt to log in results in a return to the login page. The login page includes a "Forgot password" button for resetting the password. Password is reset through a link that is sent to the registered email. The "Signup" button is used to register users with the website and to apply input validations on passwords (all passwords should contain 8 letters, one digit and one character) and email addresses (email addresses must be in the format ...@xyz.com) for better security. The signup page contains fields for name, email address, password, phone, and picture. Email address, password, phone, and name are mandatory fields. Upon registration, the information goes to the database."
Before making our concept map for the requirements above, we specify the following details:
Now we can begin building the map by connecting general ideas with specific ideas with the help of arrows.
As we can see, the requirements of the login system of the website can be clearly and easily understood by the concept map.
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