An exploratory study of software sustainability dimensions and characteristics: end user perspectives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

2018-07-30T12:56:25Z (GMT) by Sulaiman Aljarallah Russell Lock
Background: Sustainability has become an important topic globally and the focus on ICT sustainability is increasing. However, issues exist, including vagueness and complexity of the concept itself, in addition to immaturity of the Software Engineering (SE) field. Aims: The study surveys respondents on software sustainability dimensions and characteristics from their perspectives, and seeks to derive rankings for their priority. Method: An exploratory study was conducted to quantitatively investigate Saudi Arabian (KSA) software user’s perceptions with regard to the concept itself, the dimensions and characteristics of the software sustainability. Survey data was gathered from 906 respondents. Results: The results highlight key dimensions for sustainability and their priorities to users. The results also indicate that the characteristics perceived to be the most significant, were security, usability, reliability, maintainability, extensibility and portability, whereas respondents were relatively less concerned with computer ethics (e.g. privacy and trust), functionality, efficiency and reusability. A key finding was that females considered the environmental dimension to be more important than males. Conclusions: The dimensions and characteristics identified here can be used as a means of providing valuable feedback for the planning and implementation of future development of sustainable software.