The 3 Finest Tools for Diagramming

Author James Mash 15.4.2016. | 18:06

In any project, it is essential to ensure that all the members of your team are on the same page. Miscommunication can quickly lead to disaster, so it pays to communicate openly in a way that anyone can understand. One of the easiest and most effective ways of communicating complex ideas is to construct a workflow diagram. These diagrams combine the specificity of the written word with the simple, easily graspable nature of pictures. A workflow diagram draws your eye to the most important parts of your presentation. The key is to keep things simple; even a complicated mathematical equation can be translated into an effective workflow diagram. And these days, it doesn’t take a graphic artist to make one. There is specialized software you can use that makes creating one incredibly easy. Here are the best three programs for making a workflow diagram.

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LucidChart

LucidChart is a popular choice for both individuals and organizations, including NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Disney, and Mozilla. The software, which has both online and offline functionality, is HTML5- and JavaScript-based. You can use it to easily produce vectors, flowcharts, site maps, wireframes, and many other types of diagrams. Additionally, you can create navigable website mockups for iOS and Android. Customers praise LucidChart for its ease of use; you can collaborate with an unlimited number of users and see changes made to projects in real time. LucidChart also keeps a record of the changes you make, so you can revert your projects to previous versions with ease.

lucidchart

The software can also be used for sharing documents, comments, and chatting with other users. Its interface is simple to use and easy to understand thanks to its drag-and-drop interface. You don’t need to fear incompatibility if you switch to LucidChart, because it is capable of importing file formats used with Microsoft Visio, Omnigraffle, and other diagramming programs. Also, you can upload your projects directly to social media sites when you’re done. One of LucidChart’s primary draws is its price point; at $4.95 per month per user, so there’s little risk in giving it a try. You can also upgrade to a team plan for $20 per month, which allows you to utilize integration with third-party software including Google Apps, JIRA, and Confluence. The team plan also includes more shapes atop the existing hundreds, and team-based features like billing and permission levels.

 

 

 

Microsoft Visio

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The standard version of Microsoft Visio allows you to create diagrams such as floor layouts, flowcharts, timelines, and wireframes. Visio also has a convenient drag-and-drop interface, and allows for real-time collaboration and commenting between users, and it also offers Skype integration for enhanced communication. The design of Visio is intuitive, yet powerful, making it a solid choice for beginners and experts alike. The software contains a simple wizard that takes organized data and turns it into charts, as well as thousands of shapes that are UML 2.4-, BPMN-, and IEEE-compliant. There are starter diagrams and templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch each time you start a project. You can link data from additional sources into Visio for constantly updated visualizations. Sampo 3D Visioner is available as an add-on, allowing you to create 3D visualizations. Apart from Standard, Visio Professional is also available, featuring updated shapes, templates, and styles. With Visio Professional, multiple people can work on a project at once, and you can enable Information Rights Management to prevent information leakage. The standard version, Visio Standard costs $299, and Visio Professional costs $599, both as standalone applications. Visio Professional is also available in some of the Microsoft Office 365 plans, or as an additional subscription for $13 per user per month.

 

Gliffy

gliffy

Gliffy is an online diagramming tool is HTML5-based and capable of creating organizational charts, flowcharts, SWOT analyses, and many other sorts of diagrams. With its smooth, responsive drag-and-drop interface,Gliffy is easy to use. Offering free, standard and business accounts, it is ideal for companies of any size. The software contains options for designers and developers, including standard UML icons and Amazon Web Services sets. iOS and Android shape sets are included, along with forms, tables, and buttons. Gliffy offers mobile and web elements, allowing you to create prototype UI designs. You can connect to third-party applications, including Google Drive, JIRA, and Confluence. A limited version of the software is available as an offline Google Chrome application. One thing to note is that Gliffy does not offer pre-made templates. The only differences between Gliffy Standard and Gliffy Business are the numbers of savable private diagrams (200 for Standard, and no limit for Business) and the lack of UML and wireframe shapes in Standard. A single-user Gliffy Standard account is available for $3.99 per month; Gliffy Business accounts are $7.99 per month per user.


 

This guest post was written by John Porter, a Southampton-based freelance writer and a tech head, who enjoys writing about new technology and is particularly interested in all types of productivity apps. You can look him up on Facebook or @johnpourter on Twitter.

Author James Mash 15.4.2016. | 18:06
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