6 quick tips to boost your flowchart software skills
Whether you’re in charge of process modeling, or gathering and deriving knowledge from data, presenting the information clearly, and in a way that allows your team to act in a thoughtful, strategic manner, is critical. However, understanding data can be a complicated process and is often even more challenging to explain. Fortunately, flowchart makers and data visualization tools can help you simplify and communicate complex information using data-linked diagrams, and can help.
However, making new processes and data visually interesting and easy to comprehend does take a little finesse. So, if you’d like to make the most of your data and take your charts to a new level, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started with six tips that can change the way you use flowchart software – and improve your presentations.
#1 Keep your data to one page or slide
Whether your data is being presented via a handout, email, or during a live presentation, it’s important to keep all the information together. This will eliminate the need to scroll, flip between pages, or constantly go from one slide to the next. By keeping your data points on a single page, you and your audience can easily see the progression from data point to data point – which can help keep conversations (and thought processes) flowing.
#2 Make Design Elements Consistent
Flowcharts should be easy to understand. And while flowchart programs offer dozens of design elements and shapes, you should exercise restraint when it comes to the variety options you choose. A general rule of thumb is to try to limit the number of shapes and colors to three each – and to use them consistently, in a way that makes sense to your audience. This ensures variety and visual interest, but won’t cause your chart to appear chaotic.
Hint: When in doubt, ask a co-worker to look at your chart. If need be, you can delete the data but leave the shapes, and ask him or her to simply comment on the design.
#3 Use a Template
Many flowchart makers allow you to create your own charts from scratch, but they usually offer a number of customizable templates, too. By using an editable template, you can reduce the amount of time spent creating your design elements, and ensure that your chart has a sophisticated, professional look.#4 Organize Data from Left to Right Data should be organized in the way that people read – and for most of us that means in a left-to-right pattern. This allows your audience to understand where to begin, and where to end – and can help keep confusion at bay. If there are times when an "if this, then that" scenario arises, branch off clearly and show the path that follows. Or if there's a point at which one scenario in your process modeling would trigger a step back, use return lines to under the diagram to clearly show it. #5 Make the Most of Data Visualization Tools Available Most of us only use our flowchart programs when we need them, but our skills often barely scratch the surface of what's possible. So, spend some time getting to know your flowchart software and understanding the data visualization tools available. Take a tutorial, take a class, listen to a lecture or watch a video (or a few) on some of the tools, tips and tricks that can make creating a flowchart simpler. And try making flowcharts for fun. Us them to create a lunch invitation to your team, or a way to explain your weekend plans – and have some fun while you hone your design skills. Hint: Some flowchart makers can work in tandem – and simultaneously – with spreadsheet software, which can make creating a flowchart easier. #6 Edit As with all documents, flowcharts should pass through an editing process. Reading its content aloud often helps to find and eliminate redundant words, and can help you locate areas where shorter synonyms can help you save space. During the editing phase, you may also consider resizing your diagram and adjust fonts. Just make sure to keep all changes consistent throughout the document, and to maintain a font size that's readable. When looking for process modeling or data visualization tools, finding a software solution that offers templates that conform to industry standards, as well as the option to develop your own designs, is critical. This way, you can share your data and information clearly, and in a way that is appropriate for your audience. In addition, with an intuitive interface and the ability to work in tandem, and simultaneously, with your spreadsheet software, you can streamline your approach to creating flowcharts, which can help you save time and improve your productivity.
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