Flow charts are a great way to visualize and organize complex processes. But all too often, people try to create flow charts that are far too complicated, making them difficult to use and understand.
But with a little bit of thought and planning, it’s possible to create flow charts that are easy to follow and understand. Here are 12 ways to do just that.
1. Keep It Simple.
When creating a process flow chart, the rule of thumb is that someone who has not seen it before should easily understand the process. That means if you’re designing a flow chart for your own product or service, no one on your team should need to know how it works in order to understand what they’re looking at.
2. Avoid Distractions.
When designing a flow chart, you usually want to include as much detail as possible to make the process easier to understand. However, remember this adage: Less is more when it comes to how your chart will look on paper or on a software program. When creating your design, it’s best to leave out everything that isn’t absolutely necessary for understanding the process. That means you need to resist the urge to over-decorate your flow charts with unnecessary symbols, colors, and text. The cleaner and simpler it is, the easier it will be for anyone to follow along.
3. Keep It Organized.
When creating a flow chart, it’s important to make sure that all of your information is arranged in an organized fashion. This means you should place the starting point at the top of the chart and then use arrows to show how each step leads into the next. When writing out text for each step, list them from top to bottom and from left to right. This makes it easy for anyone to understand what information goes where and why. Just be sure you don’t use your columns as a space to write out unnecessary details or text – keep them clean and simple!
4. Use Labels Instead of Captions If Possible.
When designing a flow chart, it’s usually best to include a clear and concise explanation of what the flow chart represents. This information should be included at the very top of your chart directly underneath where you start your process.
5. Keep It Consistent.
When designing a flow chart, it’s important to create one that is uniform and easy to understand. This means you should have consistent shapes for each step, use the same types of symbols throughout the chart, and include any text in exactly the same place on every single process.
6. Use Arrows Instead of Repetitive Text Whenever Possible.
When designing a flow chart, it’s important to avoid writing out the same thing on every single step. Instead of text or symbols, use arrows and lines to show how each part connects with the others. This ensures you don’t over-use certain words and symbols and makes your flow chart far easier for anyone to follow and understand. Just be sure to use arrows to connect each process with the next and avoid using them as a means of writing repetitive text.
7. Don’t Forget About the Details.
Even though you want your flow chart to be as simple as possible, it’s still important for anyone reading it to have all the details they need. This means you shouldn’t leave anything to the imagination by including either too many labels or not enough. Try to include as much information as possible without over-cluttering your design and making it hard to read.
8. Differentiate Between Active and Passive Processes.
When designing a flow chart, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between an active process (one that the user has control over) and a passive one (something that happens without any input). To do this, you need to include the text below each step indicating whether it’s something your users need to do or something they simply have to watch.
9. Use Unnecessary Details Sparingly.
When creating a flow chart, it’s important to remember that many of the details you include in your design will be unnecessary for anyone reading it. If you want your process to be easy to understand, don’t clutter it up by including everything you can think of. Instead, focus on your core purpose while including just enough information to explain each step.
10. Avoid Making Assumptions.
When designing a flow chart, it’s important to avoid making assumptions about things you don’t know yet. For example, if there are certain details that haven’t been set in stone yet, leave them out of your chart. This will ensure you don’t get any details wrong later on down the road.
11. Make Sure You Add Any Additional Details to Your Chart.
When designing a flow chart, it’s important that you include all the extra notes and details associated with each step of your process. This ensures that anyone reading your chart knows exactly what you’re talking about without having to wait until later on down the line.
12. Avoid Slang or Industry Jargon When Possible.
When designing a flow chart, it can often be helpful to use industry jargon or slang in order to make your process more efficient. However, when creating something that will be used by as many people as possible, it’s important to avoid this as much as possible. Even though some abbreviations and acronyms might be common inside your industry, they may not be known outside of it.
One great way to make flow charts is to use Venngage — a free infographic maker and online flow chart maker that offers a wide range of free flow chart templates. Here are some flow chart examples from their website!
When designing a flow chart, it’s important to remember that just because you created it doesn’t mean everyone else will understand it. This means the final version needs to be as easy to understand and follow as possible so even someone with little or no prior knowledge can follow along and know exactly what is going on. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb down your design or include unnecessary labels, instead, it requires a careful balancing act in order to create something that’s informative and easy to follow. To start making your own flow chart, click here!