“Well-designed visuals do more than provide information; they bring order to the conversation” – Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger
While we recognize that written content is super powerful and important, visual content is also an extremely effective and authoritative means to communicate. The human brain is already hardwired to grasp visual content better, and now with the increasing pace of everyday life, there is an even higher demand for top and clearly communicating visual aids. Visual symbols today are being used to represent thoughts and ideas, and as communication evolves over time, vision is becoming the largest source of our understanding of our world. Visual content is easily absorbed and stored in the brain for later use. Given these facts, it makes sense therefore, for businesses to use more visual aids (coupled with great written content) to boost customer engagement and retention. One such potent, impactful, and lucid visual aid is flowchart diagrams – they are extremely useful to explain complex processes and ideas, convey strategies, as training material, decision trees, as a troubleshooting document and more.
Flowchart diagrams work for the reasons mentioned above, and also because the human brain processes information in the blink of an eye. The brain draws on the information, experiences, and knowledge already stored within itself, enabling it to decide whether it would want to pay attention to the information provided or completely block it out. Research and studies show that the fastest way to capture and retain the attention of a person is by using graphics, images, and symbols – these influence the focus and retention of a person. This makes flowchart diagrams important for conveying various type of information from a business to its target audience, both internal and external. As a visual aid therefore, the information in flowchart diagrams would be part of the 80% information that people retain.
Speaking further about sensory reception, the human eyes have 70% of the receptors, and unlike any other senses, they are constantly managing information. In the corporate scenario, people often complain about meetings as being boring, onerous, and time wasters, and they are partly true. Meetings where the presenter reads off a PowerPoint presentation, or rattles off some information contained in a large document, tend to put people off, lose interest, and as a result they do not retain any information doled out in the meeting (and may even dread attending a follow-up meeting). This in turn leads to a number of communication gaps and lowered productivity – both of which can prove extremely disastrous for any business. In contrast, if the same information was dispensed using interesting and eye catching visual aids, such as flowchart diagrams, the results would be glaringly different and interestingly positive.
Meetings and the information disseminated should help the participants to feel engaged, stimulated, and raring to go. Visual aids such as flowchart diagrams, when used to dispense information can make any meeting interesting and interactive – setting the tone for idea sharing and retaining the points discussed, ensuring that the information received is further distributed to the remaining workforce. The further dissemination of the information discussed in meetings, would also be best shared as flowchart diagrams for the same reasons. Salient points and highlights of the discussion would suffice as the information in the flowchart diagrams for the rest of the organization. Flowchart diagrams are certainly one of the most viable and consistent forms of representing information, thereby serving a practical purpose and fulfilling a very real need in a business setting.
The reasons for the success of flowchart diagrams as a visual aid are many – the most important being the simplicity and veracity of the manner they help present information. The step by step representation of processes, ideas, complex projects, and more are lucidly represented through shapes, while arrows depict sequences, and adding color makes the information pop even more. Not all flowchart diagrams are strictly in lines – there are also some that branch out from each step (such as decision trees or troubleshooting flowchart diagrams). Even the most complicated of processes are easily comprehended when depicted through flowchart diagrams, since all the reader would need to do is follow the arrows that lead from one shape to the next.
Science shows that amongst people, there are different learning styles, and one such are visual learners – constituting about 65% of population. People who are better at this type of learning style can immensely benefit from flowchart diagrams. They would be able to remember and gain mastery over knowledge and skills better and faster when they learn through flowcharts. Given these statistics, it certainly does make business sense to use pictures, diagrams, and every possible visual aid to highlight the ideologies, concepts, and brand of the company. Since most people thrive on ‘learning’ through visual aids, using flowchart diagrams would certainly prove beneficial. The great news for companies is that several ready to use templates of flowchart diagrams, allowing anyone to edit them and effortlessly make professional looking flowcharts that clearly capture all the information.
When social media flooded the internet, it had more to do with sending and reading messages and most of the information was written text. Today, this scenario has transformed, and most sites use images and visual aids to share information. In addition, social media is also used by businesses to reach out to audiences, and flowchart diagrams is a great way to grab the attention of readers and viewers by sharing crucial information in a quick to understand format. This in turn not only gets eyeballs, it also elicits responses – emotional reactions from the readers, and they would be more willing to share this information to their family, friends, associates, and clients. Imagine the reach that a single piece of information would have – a company would send it to a small group of people, creating a ripple effect of sharing to a much wider audience.
There seems to be enough proof of visual aids such as flowchart diagrams being extremely beneficial to disseminate ideas, concepts, and thoughts. However, it is important that flowcharts are prepared with care and that the ‘creators’ put in the information from the point of enhancing engagement and customer loyalty. It would be necessary to ensure that the flowchart diagrams are visually consistent – meaning that the formatting (colors, shapes, fonts etc.) are consistent through the diagram. Consistency increases engagement, making the information contained in the flowcharts easy to understand and retain long term. It is not always that a flowchart would be simple in terms of its creation and the amount of information that it contains, but if the information is organized neatly, even a large amount of data will be easy to comprehend. Ensure that each major step / activity is mentioned clearly at the top of the flowchart diagrams, and even better if the boxes are defined by color. This will help form a better connection, and encourage the reader to go through the entire flowchart for the information.
What creators of flowchart diagrams must understand is that they should use these diagrams to narrate a story. They must ensure that the graphics, boxes, connectors, and other means used within the flowcharts, have a logical flow, such that even the most complex information is easily understood, thereby increasing interest and engagement.
Before you send out your next lengthy email or put together a pompous heavy document, think about using visual aids such as flowchart diagrams to convey all your ideas. People want to get information – but they want it in an interesting and quick to understand format.