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Explore Diagramming Best Practices

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the value of visual communication.
  • Achieve clarity in your diagram.
  • Identify the best pattern for the message you want to deliver.
  • Explain the importance of contrast.

This module was produced in collaboration with Lucid, which owns, supports, and maintains the Lucid products, services, and features described here. Use of Lucid products, services, and features is governed by privacy policies and service agreements maintained by Lucid. Learn more about partner content on Trailhead.

Unlock the Power of Visual Communication

In this module, you learn about the importance of visual communication and how it can help you get buy-in from your stakeholders. You also explore how Lucidchart and Salesforce come together to give you the tools to make that visual communication impactful.

team meeting with person delivering a presentation at the head of the table

Whether you’re advocating for a specific software platform that will help transform your organization, or pitching a process you believe will make your team more efficient, you’ll most likely use a diagram to get your point across. Why is this so important?

It turns out, we have evolved a highly sophisticated sense of sight. 

  • 83% of human comprehension occurs visually. This means you’re more likely to get your point across with a well developed diagram.
  • The human brain can process images 6,000 times faster than words! This means that a well-crafted diagram can also help speed up the adoption of your pitch or proposal.
  • Visual aids increase retention from 10 to 65%. You want to make a lasting impression with your team? That diagram will help you.

You may be used to working in a text-heavy world of emails, wordy slide-decks, and long messages from colleagues. But that doesn't mean we have to continue the practice. Ultimately, visual communication improves understanding, ensures efficiency, and facilitates collaboration. Any text that includes some type of visual, let alone a diagram, adds value and reinforces the messages you’re trying to convey.

Build Quality Diagrams with Lucidchart

Despite our evolution to respond to visual communication, not just any image or diagram will do. As with any critical business communication, you must develop your visuals with intent and quality in mind. Lucid calls out the 3 C’s to help guide you—clarity, consistency, and contrast.

If your audience can’t understand your diagram, it can be challenging to put those ideas into action. If there are members of your team, or stakeholders, that need to adopt your vision, make sure that your diagrams are designed in a way that is intuitive for people to interact with and understand.

That's where the 3 C’s come in! By focusing on clarity, consistency, and contrast throughout your diagrams, you'll be able to gain adoption from those that interact with them.

Convey Complex Ideas Clearly

Diagrams allow you to think visually as you organize your thoughts and work out processes. However, at some point, you need to clean up your diagram and design it to be presentable to others. The goal should always be to design your diagram in a way that others can understand it without you being present to explain it.

To achieve this, the first thing you want to check for is clarity in your diagram. When you look at your diagram, try evaluating it from a new viewer’s perspective. Then ask yourself these questions.

  • Is it specific to the audience?
  • Can the viewer easily understand the purpose?
  • Is it clear where the viewer should look first?
  • Do they know where to go from that starting point?
  • Can they read the text on the page?
  • Are the shapes, lines, and colors understandable?

Making the appropriate adjustments so that you can confidently answer yes to each question will help you achieve the clarity you need. Especially if you’re trying to communicate a highly complex idea. You may need to ask these questions several times and tweak your diagram over and over again. That’s OK. In the end, the buy-in from your organization will be worth it.

Achieve Consistency

When it comes to visual communication and interpretation, humans are constantly looking for patterns. Why is that?

Patterns are important because they offer visual clues to an underlying order and allow us to quickly analyze a situation to understand how it works. This can enable teams to quickly assess issues and start asking the right questions.

That’s why consistency is so important when presenting ideas. Consistency enables viewers to catch the patterns quickly and gain understanding at a faster rate! 

Let’s review some patterns and what they mean.

inside of a building where the the columns, windows, and stairways are all symmetrical and essentially mirrored on both sides

A symmetrical system is essentially a balanced system.

a plant with leaves sprouting around the center radially

A radial system starts in the center and builds as it moves out.

a spiral staircase

An upward spiral can translate to growth while a downward spiral points to devolving.

a series of square pipes stacked on top of one another

Redundancy in the grid pattern makes it easy to manage and understand.

Use Contrast to Call Out an Element

Contrast conveys importance between elements and creates interest. Contrast can be achieved in many different ways, but the easiest ways are through shapes, colors, and text. It can be as simple as adding shadows or adjusting the color and boldness of text in one area of your diagram to ensure your audience reads an important note. Simple doesn’t mean small, however. The choices you make, even the smallest one, can determine how impactful your presentation is.

Put Diagramming Best Practices to Use

It’s one thing to understand these fundamentals. It’s another to put them into practice. In the next unit, you explore how Lucidchart and Salesforce come together to enable the development of Salesforce diagrams aligned to these principles.


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