We inhabit a visual world that offers constant stimuli to our optic nerves. The march of technology and the achievements of modern civilization have created dense visual dialogues that pervade our everyday lives. Television, the Internet, smartphones, social media, newspapers and magazines, outdoor publicity and advertising, et al, converge to saturate our existence with pervasive visual content. In this respect, we allude to flowcharts and other digital diagrams that rely on consistent design elements to narrate the various stages of a system or a process. Flowchart creators and designers have always stressed the mandatory requirement for visual consistency because this enables these diagrams to narrate a consistent message.
The shapes, lines, spaces, and text embedded within a modern flowchart comprise the design element of these digital diagrams. The creators and designers of flowcharts must ensure these elements remain in harmony during the design of the digital diagram. The visual consistency is an important aspect that ensures a flawless end-user experience. For instance, diamond shapes denote a decision inside a process depicted on a flowchart. These shapes must remain consistent in their dimensions because they attract the reader’s (or reviewer’s) attention to the action. In addition, the colors inside these shapes must be the same in the interests of preserving visual consistency. A series of diamond shapes can animate critical stages in the flowchart; therefore, creators and designers must render these junctions in a consistent manner. Digital technologies enable these actions and help designers adhere to consistent design elements.
The use of color represents an important aspect of deploying consistent design elements inside a modern flowchart. Creators and designers must make the effort to create a color palette and adhere to the same in the course of designing flowcharts. For instance, the colors deployed to illuminate the start and end of a flowchart must remain identical. This action ensures reviewers receive the correct signal while conducting a survey of all aspects of the flowchart. A designer may be tempted to use green shades to populate the starting point of a process; similarly, a shade of red may appear appropriate to mark the end of the flowchart. This practice introduces a marked departure from the use of consistent design elements and hence designers must avoid these practices. In a similar vein, stages that signify manual inputs inside a flowchart should attract color consistency across the digital diagram. Designers must proceed with caution in the use of colors and other visual elements that comprise the modern flowchart.
The designers of modern flowcharts must consider the nature of human vision and its operating system. Human eyes naturally comprehend text better when said text flows from left to right. This is a critical principle in biology that finds deep echoes in efforts to frame an optimal end-user experience. Therefore, flowchart creators and designers must work to ensure these diagrams flow from left to right in line with the deployment of consistent design elements. This approach makes it easier for readers to comprehend the process. In addition, designers that create flowcharts that depict multiple sub-processes (as part of a complex process or operation) must ensure they preserve continuity in depicting sub-processes through the aforementioned technique. This line of action clearly ensures a consistent approach to design elements, while promoting better comprehension among readers and reviewers. In addition, flowchart designers must ensure that the various stages move along horizontal straight lines, ensuring minimum eye fatigue for readers and removal of any scope for confusion.
Innovation remains a critical factor that drives modern systems and processes. The designers and creators of flowcharts can adopt an innovative stance by creating alternative visual methods to convey information to readers of flowcharts. One aspect of innovation may manifest in re-inventing the depiction of a decision stage inside a flowchart in a bid to boost the use of consistent design elements. The diamond shape traditionally represents the decision stage inside flowcharts, yet introduces a shade of visual inconsistency that stems from the subsequent depiction of (yes/no) information. An alternative can emerge when two arrows are placed at an angle to signify different outcomes. This act of creating a split path enables designers to conform to the rules of using consistent design elements. This approach also enables designers to preserve the momentum of readers perusing the flowchart from the left to the right. Similar innovations come into play when designers embed additional information inside a flowchart through the agency of web links. These devices enable designers to add significant levels of information to a digital illustration or flowchart.
Arrows play an important role inside flowcharts. They indicate the movement of processes inside modern flowcharts. Each arrow signifies progress from one stage to the next, thereby signalling a step closer to completion of a depicted process. These connectors represent an important aspect of using consistent design elements inside a flowchart. The designers can use straight arrows to connect one stage to the subsequent stage. This is a visually important device because the placement of arrows is emblematic of the momentum that helps to complete a certain process. However, coloured arrows can add emphasis to (for instance) the stages that follow a decision point. Similarly, dotted arrows can indicate a parallel process that operates as a back up to a primary chemical or industrial process. In addition, designers can deploy elbow arrows or corner arrows to help a flowchart negotiate the lack of space in a certain page. The application of these visual elements must conform to the use of consistent design elements in a bid to create a visually smooth diagrammatic representation.
The vertical dimension presents interesting possibilities for the designers and creators of modern flowcharts. This design approach is directly opposed to the assumption that flowcharts must be designed to flow horizontally. Readers and reviewers of vertically designed flowcharts can scroll said document on digital devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, connected tablets, and desktop work stations. The vertical flowchart allows designers to explore a system or process while implementing the use of consistent design elements in said endeavor. This flowchart also imparts new meaning to the term “flowchart” because the arrows and connectors may be elongated, (arrows are typically compact in traditional flowchart design). However, designers can work to preserve meaning and boost reader comprehension by adhering to certain orthodox tenets that define the design of flowcharts. They must bear in mind the fact that readers and reviewers will scroll through the document in pursuit of comprehension. This fact must inform and illuminate all actions that go into the placement of consistent design elements inside said document.
We have underlined the importance of using consistent design elements inside modern flowcharts. Every designer or creator must leverage the use of digital tools and his or her design sensibilities to ensure that the document is visually (and factually) perfect. Designers must also preserve consistency because this enables future editions of a flowchart to remain in harmony with legacy designs and creations. In addition, consistency in design empowers creators to create a superb impression on readers and reviewers. The use of digital technologies and specialized software packages can reinforce a designer’s resolve to impart an aesthetic touch to an otherwise purely functional diagram.