Principles of Flowchart Design

Contemporary living spaces present instances of functional and highly aesthetic design harnessed to the cause of promoting modern lifestyles. The architects, planners, and designers of such spaces are utilizing a multitude of materials, concepts, sensibilities, human intelligence, and design principles in a bid to break new ground in interior architecture. Muted colors, the widespread use of wood tones, artificial and natural fibers, a variety of perspectives, new age building materials, elements of the natural environment, and scientific principles represent some overarching themes in the pursuit to promote aspirational lifestyles. The intent is to conceptualize and create path breaking spaces that soothe the human spirit while scoring high in terms of pure aesthetics and bland functionality. These aspects resonate in the domain of flowchart design wherein creators and designers must outline illustrations that intelligently guide the attentions of readers, while informing them about core content that animates said illustrations.

The architects of flowchart design must bear in mind that an inter-connected illustration must have educational value and must promote unproblematic comprehension. The use of consistent design elements ranks foremost among the principles that underlie flowchart design. Oval shapes, for instance, must bracket the expanse of any given flowchart. This principle, enshrined in orthodox thought, has propelled the evolution of flowchart design over a few decades. Consistency must also attend the dimensions of the rectangles (and their alignments) that represent the proverbial work horse among the shapes that dominate a modern flowchart. Designers agree such consistency allows them to eliminate visual distractions that may, otherwise, remove from the attention required on the part of readers and reviewers. Observers note digital technologies have created the grounds for imparting uniformity to the mission outlined above.

Simplicity of design remains a paramount aim of flowchart design when creators and illustrators embark on design missions. Every designer must strive to attain a level of visual simplicity by, for instance, reducing the volume of text and content inside a modern flowchart. This technique serves to introduce readers to the subject matter, while igniting their curiosity in a certain domain. In line with this, designers of flowcharts that depict supply chains (for instance) may depict content in broad brush strokes; the intent is to encourage readers to augment their levels of knowledge by perusing sources of information outside said diagram. In addition, such instances of flowchart design enable creators to craft masterpieces of simplicity that might serve as lodestones for future illustrators. Simplicity also allows illustrations to evolve into educational tools that can inform, enrich, and enlighten lay readers and members of the public.

Colors pervade the natural world and the digital domain alike. Analytical illustrations such as flowcharts are no exceptions to this rule. The evolving standards of flowchart design drive an exceptional emphasis on the use of colors, shades, tints, and hues. Color-coded diagrams are easier to fathom, while allowing designers to direct reader attention to specific flows of information inside such diagrams. For instance, a designer may elect to impinge feedback mechanisms inside a flowchart with bright colors. This indicates the necessity of feedback mechanisms and their central role in driving key actions inside a diagram. Contrasting colors, while not recommended, can attract a reader’s attention to central mechanisms that animate a depicted system or process. Sub-routines positioned inside a flowchart, when depicted in specific tints, spotlight the actions and their impact on the larger scheme of things. In essence, colors serve as a guideline that elevate the visual impact of an expertly depicted flowchart diagram.

Disaggregation is a technique that assists comprehension, while promoting clarity of thought in readers and reviewers. The practice of modern flowchart design correctly assumes creators will disaggregate different parts of a depicted process to achieve the mentioned objectives. In line with this, designers may elect to create top-level flowcharts the various stages of which lead to sub-processes positioned outside the master illustration. Designers working in the digital medium can elect to place short web-links inside the illustration as part of their contribution to flowchart design. Readers can click said links to visit detailed illustrations that offer a granular view of a sub-process or sub-routine. In time, multiple layers of detail may emerge, each of which originates in the master diagram. The outcomes include higher levels of reader comprehension, as also the ability of designers to review or re-arrange the flow of actions inside a flowchart. Practical benefits emerge when we consider the fact these illustrations can be amended with ease in response to higher levels of sophistication attained by depicted processes.

Flowchart connectors are the manifest representations of velocity that drives a process to completion inside a uni-dimensional illustration. The arrow represents the connector in every generation of flowchart design. However, designers may consider the use of split paths in a bid to impart a cohesive element to every section of a flowchart. These paths, represented by arrows positioned at an angle, can signal multiple outcomes from a stage or sub-process. Once positioned accurately, the split path empowers creators of flowcharts to utilize available space at a higher level. However, a random placement of split paths may generate confusion, thereby disrupting the core tenets of flowchart design. That said; split path techniques help preserve the flow of information from the left to the right of the canvas, thereby reinforcing a basic tenet of modern flowchart design. Designers must bear in mind the split path operates on the premise of binary outcomes from the point of their origin. This is interesting, when we consider the possibility of more than two outcomes in any given stage or sequence of an illustration.

The horizontal dimension arguably offers the best canvas for generating the full expanse of a modern flowchart diagram. In terms of flowchart design, this dimension is ideally suited to the natural gaze of human vision, which moves from the left to the right. Therefore, designers can work to construct illustrations that describe a variety of modern commercial or technical processes. This segues with concepts that animated the earliest blueprints created by industrial pioneers to chart manufacturing processes more than two hundred years ago. Recent comment indicates flowcharts designed on the horizontal dimension also promote comprehension and knowledge transfer mechanisms, which remain two of the primary objectives in such design ventures. However, complex processes may require designers to create swimlane flowcharts that primarily hinge on said dimension.

The foregoing paragraphs have explored some of the design principles that underlie flowchart design in the modern era. The creators and designers of such illustrations must work to apply their experience (and expertise) in a bid to improve upon existing best practices in said domain. Intelligent practitioners of such design might leverage the immense potential of modern digital technologies to envision the next generation of flowcharts. These technologies represent the natural evolution of design in this domain. These might involve offering multiple views of a single diagram with a view to create emphasis on certain aspects of the illustration. Evolving animation technologies may also play a seminal role in upgrading the ideas that attend flowchart design. Web technologies, such as hyper-links, can find deeper implementations in the flowcharts of the future. These digital devices can help raise the bar on such design ventures, while creating deeper meaning inside the typical flowchart.

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