Guidelines to Avoid Top Common Flowchart Mistakes

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Acts of Providence, flaws in execution, errors in representation, sub-par operations – these have traditionally exacted a heavy cost in terms of monetary investments and human happiness. The Hindenburg disaster, the sinking of the Titanic and a string of unfortunate accidents involving commercial airliners around the world over the last one hundred years bear grim testimony to that statement. Investigations, fact-finding committees, hand wringing, and a renewed resolve to guard against the circumstances that triggered such incidents invariably follow each such incident. However, as things stand, a variety of mistakes contributes to mishaps that continue to make headlines across the international media. Analytical devices, such as flowchart diagrams, are no exception to such trends. Design errors, gaps in knowledge, flaws in concepts, and imperfect execution often manifest in common flowchart mistakes. These can be defeated when actors acknowledge such errors and work in concert to frame guidelines that reduce such errors. The following paragraphs will seek to explore certain aspects of such a framework.

The linearity of a flowchart diagram remains one of the key aspects of these analytical illustrations. The designers of flowcharts must perform accurate assessments of a process prior to investing effort in designing a corresponding flowchart. This approach can help operators avoid common flowchart mistakes and create value in terms of outlining an appropriate diagram. Certain projects may demand a design language that essentially propagates a vertical flowchart in which every stage is stacked along the North-South alignment. This configuration is appropriate for processes that are punctuated by a variety of minor sub-processes (or parallel operations). Essentially, the designer must create a rough elevation inside his or her mind in a bid to avoid common flowchart mistakes. Once committed, he or she may proceed with a detailed construction that leads to the formation of a full-fledged flowchart diagram.

Noise is a form of pollution that can mar human experiences, create visual distortions in photographs, and degrade the quality of life for all forms of terrestrial life. This phenomenon also represents one of the common flowchart mistakes that removes from the mission to create an exacting inter-linked illustration. The designers of flowcharts can deploy muted colors in a bid to reduce the amount of visual noise inside a flowchart diagram. They may work to create custom palettes of colors or may rely on color schemes available in digital markets. Muted colors are useful because they do not distract readers’ attention from the content inside a flowchart diagram. On the other hand, an amateurish application of deep colors may reduce the diagram to a caricature that defeats the purpose of designing a flowchart diagram. Such carelessness may also impact (or distort) the visual perception of readers when they view flowcharts on a digital device. In light of the above, noise represents one of the common flowchart mistakes that must attract the designer’s attention at the visualization stage.

The selection of fonts and font sizes must remain a top priority for the designers of flowcharts. An appropriate font can elevate the quality of a flowchart and create an outstanding visual impact on human readers and reviewers. A careless approach to fonts and font sizes represents one of the common flowchart mistakes that can defeat the purpose of designing a flowchart diagram. Intelligent designers can avert mistakes by creating a balanced outline of the flowchart and allocate specific values to font sizes. In addition, modern digital technologies empower designers to calibrate fonts and font sizes to appropriate dimensions at different stages of the flowchart creation process. Further, this manifestation of common flowchart mistakes faces an adequate resolution when designers add a digital scale to the flowchart diagram; this scale allows readers to adjust the font size in different reading conditions. The scale acts as the digital equivalent of a magnifying glass that enhances the size of newsprint for the eyes of certain readers.

Creative artists often assign a certain value to the use of random components in their stalwart works of creation. A painter may include a random human shape or geographical oddity in the backdrop of his or her visual depictions etched on canvas. However, the random element may create serious distortions inside a flowchart diagram. For instance, the use of uneven spaces between the operative stages of a flowchart represents one of the common flowchart mistakes. The lack of specific calibration may appear odd (or unprofessional) to most readers and reviewers of flowcharts. In response, designers may deploy graded calibrations inside the modern flowchart diagram. This action should ensure that most stages inside the flowchart share similar distances and this promotes a certain sense of visual proportion inside the illustration. In addition, perfect proportions ensure that flowcharts can be shared digitally with a wide range of actors and stakeholders minus the risk of creating a careless impression.

A surfeit of words inside a flowchart diagram counts among the common flowchart mistakes. The tendency to explain every stage inside the diagram may confuse readers and trigger visual confusion to the detriment of all actors. Hence, the designers of flowcharts must work with process experts to reduce the number of words – or implement shorter synonyms – in a bid to promote clarity. This technique ensures the effective use of space inside the illustration and creates a sharp impression on all readers and reviewers. Alternatively, creators and designers may deploy the use of a legend to aid reader comprehension at every level. Digital designers have the option to add hyper-links inside a flowchart; these connect readers to external sources of information that may not fit inside the confines of a modern flowchart diagram. The use of such devices ensures that a flowchart adheres to the standard best practices enshrined in modern design philosophies. In addition, such devices ensure designers can steer clear of one of the most common flowchart mistakes that may disrupt the core experience of creating and perusing a modern flowchart.

The average designer of flowchart diagrams must create these illustrations with a clarity of purpose. Every flowchart must depict a clear succession of stages that explains the operation of a system or process. Ergo, designers must avoid additional emphasis on visual design because this represents one of the most common flowchart mistakes. They must work to refine the representation of the essential logic that animates the depicted process. This approach remains predicated on a stark representation of the facts minus any accoutrements. A proper application of this technique ensures that a reader’s attention remains sharply focused on the process details depicted in the diagram. Additionally, designers may exert effort to depict the correct succession of stages inside a process because this removes any scope of visual ambiguity. They may need to refine the illustration through revisions of certain sections of the flowchart. This ensures that a polished diagram emerges for consumption by all actors and stakeholders.

The foregoing paragraphs have examined some of the common flowchart mistakes that can mar the design process. An enlightened designer must seek to re-invent the learning curve in a bid to refine his or her illustrations. An off take of such practices would be the creation of a set of best practices that can inform the future efforts of the flowchart design community.

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