The Motive Web Design Glossary
A flow chart is a visual representation of a process.
Within web design, a flow chart may be used to analyse or document the process of a user interacting with an organisation through the website. A ‘process’ could be locating information, completing an application form, placing an order, etc.
Flow charts identify a starting point, a sequence of actions, the decisions that must be made, and the conclusion or end to the process.
An effective flow chart can help to identify and explore:
- The information required from the user to complete each step of a process (inputs).
to ship an order we’ll require a physical address.
- The information required by administration staff to action the process (outputs).
do accounting and warehousing staff require different views of the information collected?
- The desired relationship model in terms of handover points.
is the application process initiated online completed by an email confirmation or by phone?
- Potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the process.
For example, is an order packaged before or after payment has been processed?
NB: The standard notation symbols for flow charts have been incorporated and extended by the Unified Modeling Language.
References and further reading
- Decision-based design (Dan Brown, Green Onions)
Moderating between the paths a person may take to complete a task and the fixed input/process model favoured by computer-based systems.
- Flow Charts (Clemson University)
Introductory tutorial including standard symbols and instructions on how to create a flow chart. Primarily focused on engineering applications, i.e. process of assembling products.
- Strategic Reasoning - Using Charts and Diagrams (Critical thinking web)
A Hong Kong university critical thinking initiative. Clear explanation of standard flow chart symbols, and sample diagrams.
Motive Web Design Glossary Trivia