Flow charts are a great way to show the inner workings of your company.
They make it easy for others to understand, but if they aren’t made correctly, they can be hard to read.
Making your flow chart accessible is an important part of creating an effective tool.
1. Keep it simple.
When making a flow chart, keep the words to a minimum.
It’s very easy to get carried away and use too many words, but it can make your chart hard for others to follow.
Always consider if there is a faster way of saying what you need to say. Your goal is to make sure that anyone can read your chart as easily as possible.
2. Use correct flow chart symbols and shapes.
Make sure that you use the correct flow chart symbols and shapes for your chart.
Using the wrong shape or symbol can make it difficult for others to understand your point, and it can even be confusing.
For example: if you represent a number with a letter of the alphabet, some people will think that the number is represented by that letter.
3. Choose colors carefully.
When using colors for your chart, choose them carefully.
For example, if you use blue to represent one thing and red to represent something else, people might think they are the same color.
That makes it difficult for others to understand your flow chart.
You need to make sure that it is obvious what each color represents without having to ask questions.
When you are choosing colors for your chart, it’s important to take into consideration the age of your audience.
For example, if you are creating a flowchart aimed at children, red isn’t an ideal color choice because it often represents danger in cartoons and movies.
That makes it difficult for younger audiences to understand.
4. Use diagrams instead of text.
There are some things that you can’t represent in a flow chart without using too much text, but if there is an option, always use a diagram or image instead.
For example, if you have to show employees working at their desks, put an image of an employee on the desk instead of trying to describe it. Check out Venngage for a flow chart example.
5. Use lower case letters for directional arrows.
When you are writing the labels for your chart, always use lower case letters for directionals within parentheses. For example, (go to) or (come back).
This way, it is obvious that they are directionals and not another process or action.
6. Don’t use abbreviations or short forms.
Using an abbreviation is fine if everyone involved in your chart already knows what it means, but if someone is new to the subject they might be confused by it.
For example: If you are working with employees, don’t use “mgr” for the manager because it isn’t clear what you are talking about.
You can avoid this problem by explaining the abbreviation when you introduce it to your audience.
7. Clean up after yourself.
Flow charts sometimes need to be adjusted as you do more work on them, but if someone else has to revise your chart later, they might not be able to read your writing.
Always edit yourself carefully before you publish your chart. It may be helpful to use a flowchart maker.
8. Use images, not words, to explain complex processes.
Some things are too complex for a flow chart because they can’t be represented simply by images or shapes.
If this is the case, don’t try to make it work without using text, because it will make your chart confusing and hard to understand.
There is no shame in using text if you need to explain a complex process, as long as it makes sense for the audience you are working with. Browsing some flow chart templates may be helpful.
9. Respect cultural differences.
Keep cultural differences in mind when creating your flow chart.
For example: In some cultures, images may not be as appropriate as text, and you don’t want to offend anyone.
Also, if you are working with a global audience, it may be necessary for you to adjust your colors or symbols so that they work for more people.
10. Think about the medium.
If the flow chart is going on a website or another electronic medium, you won’t have to worry about too much text or symbols that are difficult to read.
However, if it is going on a presentation or document, you will need to make sure that people can read what you’ve written. Always keep your audience in mind when creating the chart.
11. Experiment with different styles.
There are not many rules for flow charts, so you can experiment with different styles until you find one that works for your audience.
You may need to try it out before you’re sure of the style that people will respond to best.
What matters is that your chart gets the point across clearly and that your audience understands it.
What You Should Remember?
Flow charts are a great way to present data simply and clearly.
To make your flow chart truly effective, think about the five Ws:
who is the audience?
what do you want them to know?
where or when will this take place?
why are you making this presentation?
and how do you expect them to respond?
Keeping these questions in mind will make it easier for you to communicate with your audience in a way that they will understand.