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The Implications of ‘Soft’ Requirements

Sutcliffe, Alistair; Sawyer, Pete; Bencomo, Nelly


Alistair Sutcliffe

Pete Sawyer


Eric Knauss

Gunter Mussbacher

Chetan Arora

Muneera Bano

Jean-Guy Schneider


A new focus for RE is investigated as ‘soft’ requirements which extends non-functional requirements / soft goals with a collection of people-oriented phenomena: values, motivations, emotions, and other socio-political issues that may influence the requirements specification. The convergence of RE with user experience (HCI) and technology acceptance from the information systems literature is reviewed from a temporal perspective: pre-use, through initial to longer-term use. A taxonomy of soft requirements is proposed that extends non-functional requirements and soft-goal concepts to direct attention towards user characteristics and beliefs that may have implications for functional as well as system support requirements, such as training, help, explanation and trust in software. A timeline model of soft and hard (functional) requirements is presented with a focus on customization, adaptation and other soft requirements to, improve product acceptance and persuade users to take appropriate action. The paper concludes with a research agenda for soft requirements to improve the probability of system acceptance and the effectiveness of applications that aim to influence people’s decisions and behaviour in internet apps and other discretionary-use applications.


Sutcliffe, A., Sawyer, P., & Bencomo, N. (2022). The Implications of ‘Soft’ Requirements. In E. Knauss, G. Mussbacher, C. Arora, M. Bano, & J. Schneider (Eds.), 2022 IEEE 30th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE) (178-188).

Conference Name IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE)
Conference Location Melbourne, Australia
Start Date Aug 15, 2022
End Date Aug 20, 2022
Acceptance Date May 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 19, 2022
Publication Date 2022-08
Deposit Date May 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 31, 2023
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Pages 178-188
Series ISSN 1090-705X,2332-6441
Book Title 2022 IEEE 30th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE)
ISBN 9781665470018
Public URL


Accepted Conference Proceeding (781 Kb)

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