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One tried-and-true visual format for dissecting complicated processes are flowcharts. You've probably seen all types of these, from humorous ones to those used in technical fields such as computer programming and engineering.
Flowcharts are diagrams that graphically represent a step-by-step progression through a procedure or system. Flowcharts are extremely useful for demonstrating how things progress and explaining a subject or giving directions.
A flowchart done right can be a useful and entertaining tool; a flowchart gone wrong, not so much. We’ve compiled a list of creative flowcharts for making important decisions in different fields, with helpful tips on how to create your own.
It’s no secret that including statistics can be a great way to boost your work’s credibility. This flowchart on using social media uses that to its advantage. It includes information on types of behavior that can prevent you from landing the job of your dreams, such as what percentage of employers won’t hire you if you post a provocative picture.
The same old arrows and lines can get boring. To make your flowchart much more interesting, try getting creative with your paths. This chart is a great example of this; the arrows are free-flowing and weave around and over each other, creating a unique vibe. Moreover, the arrows serve a functional purpose: They guide the eye more freely toward their destinations. Experiment with different path types, from a free-flowing style such as this, to using items other than traditional arrows and lines, and see what works for you.
No one likes a cluttered visual. With too much filling the page, it can be difficult to follow and process the message. For example, this flowchart on data visualization avoids using unnecessary images or words, making for a much neater, coherent piece.
Humor is a great way to capture an audience’s attention, and this quiz-like flowchart on procrastination uses it to great effect. Humorous comments, such as “Deadlines?! Panic stations!” litter the road to determining which type of procrastinator you are. The comments, combined with the subject, make for a much more entertaining read, and help the viewer retain the information.
Sometimes it helps to have additional information. However, adding too much to the flowchart can clutter it. Therefore, if you want to give a little more information, try including some notes at the end.
This flowchart on mobile SEO is a good example—it includes “key takeaways” at the end, helping to reinforce and flesh out the information already given. A word of caution: Adding too much can cause as much clutter as including the information within the chart, so pick and choose what’s most important.
Having a coherent color scheme is a wonderful way to unite your flowchart. This example on re-imagining your website uses blue, yellow, and tan predominantly throughout, which goes a long way to create structure. The color choices also give a calming, professional feel. Experiment with colors and see which ones work best for your subject.
We’re used to seeing the same types of charts, over and over again. If you follow the crowd, you’ll never stand out. This flowchart decided to break the mold. Focused on discovering the perfect career, it combines bright colors, images, and a unique path format to create a vibrant, memorable image. Choosing a style that’s different can be risky, and take some testing, but it can also be an amazing success in the long run.
An interesting way to help your flowchart stand out even more—and help integrate your subject into the design on a deeper level—is to include items related to your subject into the flow. For example, this flowchart on quitting your job uses file folders as the “yes/no” bubbles. Choose something related to your subject, and use that to lead to the different subjects to subtly reinforce your chart’s message.
By this, I mean a sort of hierarchy: bad, to okay, to good, or something similar. This chart on stress uses a relatively simple example: the levels are “very stressed,” “stressed,” “a little stressed,” and “calm,” and each result is obtained by following different paths. This helps organize the paths and gives more weight to the results given.
Creating a quiz is a wonderful way to increase interactivity. This flowchart tests your abilities as a boss, with different questions leading down different paths. This method is a great way to do something both fun and informative.
You might want a specific style for your flowchart—perhaps something wild and crazy, or something very neat and organized—but the style might not work for your subject. Take this example on what type of entrepreneur you are. The style is professional and organized, yet visually interesting and engaging.
An easy way to lose your audience is to create paths that are difficult to follow. A flowchart is meant to guide a viewer clearly through several options; without that, you can easily lose and confuse others. This chart, which answers the question if your business should be on Pinterest, is a wonderful example as it provides clean lines to direct the viewer's eyes between each subject.
In a fast-paced society, making sure your results are short, but impactful, is the best way to spread your message. This example on choosing a business partner does this well, including only brief snippets to describe each result.
A fun, creative way to attract attention to your chart is to use a metaphor. This example on choosing a color for your brand is a good example of this. It describes your brand as a song and uses the metaphor throughout to help you find the right brand color, which makes the subject more accessible and entertaining.
To take your flowchart a step further, play around with the text—whether using different types, sizes and colors. Modifying text can create contrast and emphasize certain elements over others. For example, this flowchart on startups varies text size and color, with faded, small bits representing what you shouldn’t do, and the bigger bits emphasizing some of the more important concepts.
Giving results is great, but that doesn’t always help people figure out what to do. To make your flowchart even more useful, offer helpful suggestions based on the end results. For example, this flowchart details what kind of roommate you are, and then helps you figure out what sort of person would be your best living partner, thereby making it useful instead of just interesting.
Perhaps one of the best ways to attract attention is to choose a subject that surprises or shocks the audience. This flowchart does that, describing the weekdays of unemployed Americans and revealing unknown truths to the readers. Speaking honestly about such subjects is a great way to start a conversation and inform your audience. On a related note…
While not as provocative as the above, this can make your flowchart more accessible, and vastly more useful to a wider audience. For example, everyone would like to get a better night’s sleep; this flowchart gives you tips and tricks to do just that.
Perhaps this seems obvious, but using the correct sort of image can go a long way in keeping your viewers' attention. It's even better if you use images with a similar style to maintain a consistent style, such as is done in this flowchart on starting your own business.
The day-to-day problems of our jobs can cause the most frustration, so giving straight-forward, helpful advice on such topics can be a lifesaver. Flowcharts that focus on these things—such as this example on fixing problems in WordPress—are extremely helpful in these situations.
One of the best ways to use an infographic is to help explain a difficult concept. For example, this flowchart explains how to tell if something is in the public domain and breaks the concept down into an easy-to-understand process.
There are a lot of different ways to use flowcharts effectively. Do you know of some flowchart examples that aren’t on this list? Let us know in the comments section below, and start creating your own.