Architecture tools for complex modelling

24 May 2010 - 6:57am
6 years ago
3 replies
818 reads


we are basing our IA and Interaction Design projects very much on abstract modelling. Depending on the individual project, this includes object and task models, user groups, activity diagrams (swim lane etc.), data and metadata models, use cases, site maps of course, etc. - all this with the goal to capture, analyse and model the structures underlying a design or architecture. The goal is to have a reason behind every element in a wireframe or prototype.

Until now, we are working mainly with tools like Visio and OmniGraffle, occasionally others. From working with Enterprise Architects for some time now, we have learned that they are using tools that allow to map these indivdual models to each other.

For example an interaction with an online banking system might be mapped to the information object structure used, or to individual views on this structure (account overview, individual transaction ...). Changing one would then impact other linked views automatically.

Systems like Aris, Enterprise Architect or Casewise seem to support this. Is there anyone here who is using this kind of tool for modelling purposes? Do you have recommendations for a tool that is suited for common UX-related models and allows interlinking model elements?

Thanks in advance



24 May 2010 - 8:25am

Hi Milan,

If I understand you correctly I would recommend you find the best "abstract" modelling tool you can, then use something like Axure RP Pro, ( the best UX design tool, (IMHO) to reference models/requirements/business-rules created, (and controlled) in the modelling tool. This way you use the best tool for the job. The functionality in Axure RP pro that enables you to reference external resources is called, "annotations".


25 May 2010 - 5:25am

Hi Alan,

thanks - well I know you can reference external sources in Axure, but what we want to achieve is to link the model elements themselves to each other.

See my (simplified) example - I want to be able to open my interaction model with the steps for, say, "make online payment", which uses the information object "account statement" to display the amount I have currently available. Then I would click that object reference and get to the corresponding object model, where I can see other interactions using this object, like "print my financial overview", and actors using them, like "customer" and "service clerk".


25 May 2010 - 5:27am

Sorry for the double post, I am experiencing some trouble keeping my session open at

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