Creating an Easy to Read Concept Diagram

Client Sketch

I was asked to create a concept diagram of the QCDocs Accounts Payable document flow. Above is a sketch by the client. Truthfully.. I only vaguely understand the sketch. Luckily I’m familiar with the software flow, and anything I am unsure about is clarified by asking the client a specific question.

The first question I ask is, “Who is the audience”? The audience is the Accounts Payable clerks for Lululemon, but he would like this diagram to also be used in the QCDocs website.

Concept diagrams are easy and fun. I have 2 goals for this specific diagram.

  1. Readability. I increase readability by directing the information into a single downward flow. By doing this I have also created a clear starting and end point.
  2. Language. I work on tweaking the language for clarity and consistency. For example, “Fax from Vendor” arrow to “QCDocs”  is too vague. It leaves questions like: How does the fax get into QCDocs? Where in QCDocs does the fax go? This step is changed into actions, “Vendor sends fax” arrow with “Automatic Upload” arrow to “QCDocs Accounting Inbox” (See diagram). I haven’t change the number of elements (process, arrow, process) but the changes in wording has eliminated ambiguity and still keeps things simple.
  3. Visual Appearance. Ordinarily I would also be working on the graphic design and making sure the diagram is consistent with the company’s brand. However, I’ve made several diagrams for QCDocs and just grab the colors and shapes from another Illustrator file.

Note: See full size.

Accounts Payable Flow

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