Steps to Create a Structured Flowchart

Structures represent the outcome of a systematic attempt to create a durable, meaningful edifice that will stand the test of time. In the modern world, architects have designed and built remarkable structures that include dams, bridges, commercial buildings, private residences, play parks, skyscrapers, museums, etc. Each structure can exude a remarkable beauty and boasts a sense of achievement on the part of its designer or creator. The visual signature of these creations can be unique and may attract critical and popular acclaim. In the digital domain, the analytical instrument known as the flowchart represents a system or process. Flowcharts have evolved from blueprints that emerged at the dawn of the Industrial Age to plan and create factories and inventions. The modern structured flowchart serves to delineate the many moving parts (and the interactions thereof) that animate a system, process, or creation.

A simple diagram can serve as an elementary representation of a structured flowchart. The designer of this representation may choose to input reasonable amounts of information to explain the diagram visually to any reader or reviewer. He or she may input notes to explain the diagram to the untrained eye; however, this effort may create a dense image that may appear unnecessary to an expert reviewer. In this sense, the designer is catering to two types of viewers as mentioned above. This instance of a structured flowchart outlines the various actions that start and end at a certain stage. In the meanwhile, the diagram seeks to outline a sequence of actions, process flows, and decision points that power the depicted process. This representation of a flowchart essentially seeks to expand the knowledge base of the reader or reviewer. Hence, designers of such a structured flowchart must adhere to the standard practices that inform the creation of such diagrams.

The interactions between the various stages of a process are crucial to the attainment of a desired end-result. Flowcharts that depict the operation of a system or process must clearly underline these interactions for the benefit of reviewers. A structured flowchart, when depicted in the vertical dimension, can use clear lines or connectors to underline said interactions. Hence, a flowchart designer must remain clear in his or her mind in terms of the various connectors that signify interactions between various levels. For instance, decision points that generate two sub-stages can link to earlier stages depicted in the structured flowchart. In this sense, the flowchart illuminates an example of non-linearity because this corresponds to the actual stages (and conditional interactions) that power a process in the real world. In addition, complex lines of interaction may be highlighted in various colors with a view to defeat any scope of visual confusion generated by a monochromatic representation. Further, designers may elect to outline such a flowchart in different stages because the digital medium reinforces the use of such methods of visual depiction.

Sequences remain the predominant motif in creating a modern flowchart. Process flows, or sequences, represent the forward movement of various stages that culminate in the outcome. Therefore, designers of a structured flowchart must focus on creating a factually correct sequence of sub-processes that comprise the overall stages that animate a process. The depiction of the sequence must enable readers and reviewers to decode the various stages of operation. Sequences, when punctuated by decision points, can create binary outcomes in the form of yes/no stages. These alternatives govern the future direction of the process; they may cast an outsize impact on its outcome. For instance, certain processes may terminate in the event of a negative outcome from a decision point. In sharp contrast, a positive can direct the process into new stages and accelerate the levels of flow. The designers of a structured flowchart must create realistic sequence flows punctuated by actual decision points. This adherence to the facts enables process owners and designers to expand the use of current processes in a bid to design future systems.

Modern technological and scientific processes have become information-dense and thus, attained high levels of complexity. The structured flowchart that depicts such a process must correspond to said levels of technical complexity. Ergo, the designers of such flowchart diagrams may consider placing nested statements in pursuit of creating a technically correct visual representation. The various levels of such a flowchart may include the addition of complex equations that power the flows of depicted processes (and sub-processes). This approach to designing a flowchart upholds the principles of creating adequately represented facts and figures inside said diagram. The said nested statements allow technical reviewers to test the veracity of various actions and the underlying process flows. The emerging geometry of the visual image may achieve high levels of complexity in line with the actual operations of the depicted process or system. One of the benefits of creating such a structured flowchart in the digital domain is manifest in the ability of reviewers to tweak process flows in response to emerging realities.

Events and processes in real life may rely on multiple decision points that feed the outcome. The creators of a structured flowchart can choose to feature these multiple decision points through a creative expansion of orthodox flowchart design. For instance, software coders and computer programmers can design complex coding processes centered round a slanted decision structure. Each of these decision points can trigger a (visually vertical) sequence of actions and outcomes that influence the outcome of said processes. The calculations and computations of the individual vertical tree must follow the intended design logic. The net effect of creating this diagram is manifest in a visually complex image that outlines the various programming and processing stages. This structured flowchart also enables reviewers to view the many operations and sub-operations that must perform in unison to drive the outcome. In addition, a reviewer may choose to alter certain processing parameters in a bid to power the creation of new functions and sets of new sub-outcomes. Hence, flowchart designers must pay close attention to these interactions in the interests of preserving the integrity of the coding process.

A certain aspect of graphic design is critical in creating a structured flowchart. The designers and creators of such a diagram must work with shapes that denote terminators, process, and decision points. These simple geometrical representations allow designers to outline a process and sketch the flow of the events inside a flowchart. A terminator signifies the start and end of a process; these shapes are located at the two extremities of a flowchart. Process indicates the operation of a certain event or situation; decision points entail a binary outcome of a sequence of events. Connectors and logic gates comprise the points of connection between various stages inside a flowchart. Hence, designers and creators must invest time and effort in mating the various stages with the correct depictions inside flowchart diagrams. In addition, the structured flowchart must include loops that signify an interaction between processes or stages. A straight or curved arrow may signify the flow of events, while open-ended parallel lines can denote a repository of information or data. Flowchart designers must apply connectors in the correct fashion in a bid to spur comprehension among all stakeholders.

These paragraphs explore some of the actions and considerations that designers must undertake to create a structured flowchart.

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