Let’s connect the dots between a poor-designed and well-done flowchart. We’ll share top design tips on creating and designing them. Also, you’ll see good-looking examples and will be able to make everyone fall in love with your cosmic flowchart layout. Let’s start!
10 Tips to Design the Best Flowchart Ever
1. Use Consistent Design Elements
All your shapes and lines, texts and comments within one flow chart should be done in a unified style. Consistency is key, as it helps people perceive data represented in graphics much quicker. For example, you are starting and ending your flow chart design with a terminator and put rectangles between them. Check whether all the shapes are of the same size and have similar spacing and lines between them. Look at their alignment.
Keep in mind: Consistent composition simplifies perception. Viewers like lightweight and clear schemes.
2. Make it Clear and Simple
The main goal of every flowchart is the simplification of data perception. So, if yours is too complex and viewers can’t get what’s going on, your flow chart design should be reworked or enhanced. Don’t overload it with texts or images. If your flowchart becomes giant and can’t fit one page, divide it into parts and insert links to the first scheme.
Keep in mind: Data about business processes should be understandable, not distracting.
3. Flow Data from Left to Right
When you open any kind of document, you start looking on the page from the top left corner and end exploring it at the right bottom. So, this type of structuring helps viewers to easier read and comprehend perceived information.
Keep in mind: The flowchart design “from left to right” is natural for people.
4. Start and Finish Points
Every story has its setting and denouement. Every user flow map has its start and finish points. If you miss them in flow chart design, viewers will get more questions than answers:
- What is the point of this data?
- Where and why does it start?
- What are the conclusions?
- What does the whole process lead to?
Keep in mind: Follow your story. Answer these questions with your flowchart design and contents.
5. Color Coding
Experiment with different colors. Use a coherent color scheme to highlight important steps. For example, decisions or shapes requiring actions (returning to some early steps) may be marked with non-standard colors.
Use no more than 4-5 colors. Otherwise, you’ll make your flowchart a work of modern art but not a clear story. Good color matching gives a professional and calming feel.
Keep in mind: Find ready-made palettes made by authors online. Alternatively, set your own palette if you have nice art skills.
6. Shapes to Use
If you want just everyone to admire your easy to understand flow chart design, use standard shapes. This infographic will remind you what shapes people commonly use:
Need more details on shapes? Read our article ‘How to Make a Flowchart’. It covers the topic of basic and custom shapes and symbols.
Keep in mind: diversity is not good in all situations. An overabundance of forms and shapes can lead to misunderstanding. So, keep it simple!
7. Match the Style to the Subject
This point depends on your company or project specifics. Creative agencies prefer bright and even sometimes crazy flowchart design. Large enterprises stay organized and concise. However, work out a personal attitude to every case. Adding creative elements (symbols, unusual paths) won’t mean unprofessionalism. Such a style might be engaging and thrilling, yet well-organized and informative.
Keep in mind: Try different approaches, but don’t get too fond of it. Plenty of creative elements in a flowchart for, let’s say, investors might distract their attention from the topic.
8. Add Easy to Follow Path
A flow chart design doesn’t imply creating and solving puzzles. No one will spend time on solving riddles, where the arrow from the nearest element leads. On the contrary, flowcharts are intended to answer difficult business questions in simple words. When one sees a decision symbol, they should clearly understand where to find possible outcomes for this decision.
Keep in mind: Clean and not intertwined lines connecting subjects is your perfect choice. Let them be intuitive and tell your story.
9. Add Credible Statistics
Numbers and statistics are a wonderful way to show credibility. They show facts on what people choose (for instance, while making a decision between two or more options). Consequently, a viewer can draw their own conclusion regarding the matter. What’s more, numbers are descriptive and eliminate the need to write a lot of text to convince the reader. Add links to the sources for readers to trust the data you share.
Keep in mind: Don’t over-do with numbers in your flowchart design. Otherwise, it can turn out to be a statistical report.
10. Ideas for Results
End results are an essential part of any process flow. So, you can build a kind of hierarchy for them. For instance, using different levels of one phenomenon is acceptable: the best/good/the worst. Naturally, every result will have its own path. If these paths intersect, such a flow chart design will be difficult to follow. So, let them exist separately and not be confused. They should go one by one.
Keep in mind: Make sure your results are clear and show your flowchart design to a couple of colleagues before presenting it to everyone.
Great Flowchart Designs Examples
Want to see how all ten tips are implemented in real life? Let’s explore these flowchart examples from FlowMapp! This one describes the process of changing one’s profile picture. Colored blocks of results give us a direct understanding of what’s going on there:
This flowchart shows how one gets logged into a service. As in the previous one, colors and icons make the process obvious. We see what the user does and whether their actions lead to success or not. This user flow scheme is more complex due to the variety of actions and outcomes. However, everything seems to be very simple:
The most complex yet easy to understand example. It describes a service’s email funnel. This is a brilliant sample showing how well-designed flowcharts tell multilevel complicated user stories in simple shapes and words.
More flowchart design examples, created in FlowMapp User Flow Tool for real-world web projects:
- User searching journey created by Houzz
- Onboarding user flow created by Adam Kalin
- Gamification routes by Dmitriy Bunin
To sum everything up, we want to repeat key rules of making TOP flowcharts:
- Keep it simple! It’s not a puzzle to solve.
- Stick to the clear logic! Start with A, proceed to B.
- Be creative yet concise! Don’t “overdo” with unusual elements.
- Use professional software. Most of the work is already done and the processes are automated.
- Learn from the best examples. Grab brilliant ideas and implement best practices!
We hope these tips will bring your user flow maps to the next level! Try also combining flowchart development, site structure planning and even hi-fi prototyping into one comprehensive project. Use FlowMapp to bring it all together and discover a new way of planning and UX design.