Guide to Keep Flowcharts Simple

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Simplicity has been variously co related to manifestations of elegance and clarity of thought. The act of practicing simplicity has attracted comment from spiritual masters who advocate the fewest possible complications in the conduct of life itself. The virtue of simplicity also underlines the achievement of amazing feats in modern design. In modern times, digital blueprints such as flowchart diagrams gain benefits when designers work to keep flowcharts simple. The readers and reviewers of such diagrams can easily absorb the depictions contained in a simple flowchart diagram. That said we must bear in mind that simplicity in design presumes a certain level of knowledge on the part of readers and reviewers. Only a mature individual or a seasoned reviewer is well-positioned to appreciate the look and feel of design outcomes that emerge when designers keep flowcharts simple.

Design professionals can promote the mission to keep flowcharts simple by practicing economy of space. The use of digital technologies enables designers to render individual sections of an extensive flowchart in single panels. This approach amplifies the message to readers and helps keep flowcharts simple. Digital hyper-links can connect multiple individual panels, thereby driving a sense of connectivity. A different approach is resident in the technique of scaling down a large flowchart diagram. This ensures that an entire flowchart is contained within the space of a single panel; readers and reviewers can use digital zoom technology to peruse the individual elements inside this diagram.

Mobile technologies are gaining steam in consumer and professional uses of digital devices. Consumer digital devices such as smartphones, connected tablet devices, and laptop computers have attained near ubiquity in the modern world. A key aspect of such devices is their ability to scroll through a page or panel from top to bottom. This ability segues with the design objective to keep flowcharts simple. Ergo, designers can construct flowchart diagrams for the growing legions of mobile audiences. A reader can scroll through such diagrams on his or her portable digital device, thereby signaling a key departure from the traditional practice of reading a flowchart diagram. In addition, the mission to keep flowcharts simple, gains momentum when designers add special notes in an external source of information. Digital technologies act as an enabler for such momentum.

Symmetry in visual representation represents a cornerstone in efforts designed to keep flowcharts simple. The designers of flowchart diagrams can elect to construct a three-tiered set of process stages inside a flowchart. The image that emerges essentially represents a rectangle that comprises a series of horizontally stacked stages. Each stage represents a step in the depicted process; the progression of these stages ultimately completes the process being described. The visual symmetry inherent in this diagram aids comprehension and promotes the mission to keep flowcharts simple. In addition, the use of a contained space empowers designers to exercise caution, thereby eliminating the scope for inadvertent errors. Further, the symmetry enhances the aesthetics and optics of the flowchart diagram, thereby arresting the attentions of readers and reviewers.

Designers may elect to use a standard color palette as part of their efforts to keep flowcharts simple. They can deploy a few primary colors in a systematic manner to tint the multiple elements that animate a modern flowchart. In line with this, the color blue can dignify all decision points inside a flowchart; the connectors inside the diagram can sport a uniform shade of gray; process stages can be colored a light hue of green or burgundy. This approach to tinting the diagram reveals an underlying design discipline, which eschews random actions. In addition, the standard color palette – as defined by a designer – can help to format all diagrams generated during a particular span of time. For instance, a designer can apply the color palette to all flowcharts published by a corporate entity over two calendar quarters. This technique to keep flowcharts simple also implies a sense of continuity among similar diagrams, an attribute useful for archival purposes.

Connectors positioned within flowchart diagrams signify direction and momentum inside a described process. The horizontal connector is usually the most common element in modern flowcharts. It signifies movement from one stage to the subsequent set of stages. Vertical connectors represent another form of action that point to various outcomes achieved during the operation of a process. Designers that wish to keep flowcharts simple can utilize split paths that emanate from a decision point to connect to two different outcomes. These connectors emerge at an angle from the decision point and in doing so; defy the traditional depiction of (horizontal and vertical) connectors. Readers and reviewers can steer clear of any confusion because the split path is an intuitive visual and a manifestation of simplicity. This technique to keep flowcharts simple may resonate with a significant number of modern design professionals.

Certain processes and systems include loops that connect mature stages inside a flowchart to early stages depicted in the diagram. Such connections can be achieved using a variety of in-diagram devices. However, designers that work to keep flowcharts simple can use long structured loops (or return lines) that span the space below the expanse of the flowchart diagram. This technique makes use of available space and reduces the incidence of visual clutter to a minimum. This approach may sound simplistic but in fact, represents an elegant solution to the problem of positioning loops or connectors between distant stages inside a flowchart. The clear placement of the return lines also indicates clarity of thought on the part of the designer or creator. In addition, this technique enables designers to render complex procedures without compromising on basic design principles.

Deploying consistent design elements inside a diagram allows creators to keep flowcharts simple. The rectangles, diamonds, circles, connectors, and oval shapes inside a flowchart must adhere to design specifications. This aspect of design allows readers to gain a quick familiarity with the content and processes deployed inside a flowchart diagram. In addition, these elements must be evenly spaced as part of efforts to create a high degree of visual symmetry in the flowchart. Further, the consistent sizes allow designers to input relevant data (or other forms of information) to create greater meaning for the benefit of readers and reviewers. The use of consistent shapes also points to the potential of creating flowchart templates that may spur the creation of future projects.

The foregoing paragraphs have examined certain techniques that should help designers to keep flowcharts simple. These design inputs represent clear instructions that can empower any designer to create illustrations of outstanding clarity. However, designers must work to attain fluency in rendering various shapes. They must hone their native design instincts as part of efforts to improve their illustrations and smoothly re-vise (or re-structure) flowcharts in tune with client requirements. Intelligent designers may choose to share notes with colleagues and co-workers and seek inspiration from the works of other artists. These efforts represent external inputs and stimuli that may elevate the quality of illustrations and improve accuracy in visual descriptions. In addition, designers must invest time and effort to understand the various dynamics that attend a system or process. Such effort may bear fruit when designers surmount incidents of casual design errors and deliver perfect illustrations for every project.

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