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Choosing Color to Improve Diagrams

It is a well known axiom that color is one of the most important components of diagramming. Whatever diagram type you do use, the utilization of a color scheme can make it either excellent or mediocre. This post will offer you a few simple but potent ways in which you could use color to great effect.

        

1. Color can be Used as a Differentiator

One of the main ways in which a color code can be utilized is for the purpose of differentiation. Consider an org chart, where (as an HR Manager) you want a split of the two sexes. Yourorganogram would look something like the example shown below.

As you can see, this is just a simple example. But colour can also be used to differentiate various things like office locations and hierarchy on an org chart, too. The use of color may be extended to various diagram types as well. For instance, consider using different colors to show what is a process and what is a decision in a flowchart.

      

2. Use Color to show Intensity

Color may also be used as an excellent barometer to show the difficulty or intensity that is present in certain tasks. For instance, if you are Project Manager who is tracking down a flowchart, you could use various colors to generate the difficulty of certain processes. A basic example is shown below.

      

3. Make it a Point to Utilize Color in the right Context

One of the main things that we need to be mindful of is using color that is relevant to whatever it is we are drawing. For instance, if you take a topographic map, certain colors would have meaning i.e. brown would be indicative of land, green would be indicative of vegetation and blue would mean sea. Another example would be the color utilization to show an increase in temperature. You would have the color increasing in intensity from light orange to dark orange and subsequently red.

4. Use Color to ensure Readability

One of the main benefits of using color is that you get to ensure absolute clarity. Usually, you need to pay attention to readability. Avoid designs that have color contrasts that cannot be easily read like dark brown text on a dark brown background. An ideal example is shown below, where proper utilization of color to ensure readability is encircled in red.

5. Use Colors from the same Palette

While we are all for the proper use of color, remember that you can seriously draw diagrams quick and easy with Creately’s one-click styles. Each row has complementary colors, and you can go up or down to show intensity within a color. Why not try this smart app for free and see for yourself!

We do agree that colour per se and color combinations are inherently subjective, yet you cannot deny the fact that it is certainly something that is important and can be widely used to offer a glut of benefits from easy assimilation of information to making diagrams look real beautiful. As always, we’d be thrilled with whatever response that you may have and would encourage you to make comments on this post and/or to get in touch with us if you got any queries.

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Manage your project better with Org anization Charts

A while back, Indu did three amazing posts on the different types of org charts. While org charts has been the topic of focus this week, we ruminated a bit on how we could use organigrams like never before. True, we did talk about how we could use org charts in an unorthodox manner in our last post, but we wanted to push the envelope a bit further.

You see, there are various tools that are used for project management, which have had varying degrees of success but we thought – Why not form your own customized project management tool using Creately? Confused? Let’s shed some light on this compelling topic.

As our first example, consider two teams of web designers who all report to separate project managers. As a project manager, you would call/phone/email your web designer and divvy up the workload (e.g. to design a wireframe). Make sure you agree on a delivery date and a WIP date as well. Once this is done, using the collaborative features of Creately you can easily see if the tasks are being done. This way you get rid of time wastage and keep track of each team member’s progress without having to invest is a PM tool that is both expensive and is good for just one particular use. Use an organigram (as shown below) to create a customized version of a PM tool relevant to your department alone.

When inside Creately you would click on the blue icon to open up the wireframe / mockup below.

Think that this is probably just a one-off example we cracked our brains at? Think again. Let’s consider a marketing department where you are the boss. You have two executives working for you on various research projects. That big presentation is coming up soon and boy, do you need that Ansoff Matrix and PEST analysis in a hurry. Why not get your executives onto Creately and then collaborate with them. This way you would be aware of who has done what and when. Peruse the example below.

Again clicking on the blue icon, when inside Creately, will open up the PEST diagram.

The aim of this post is to help you think and use Creately from a totally different angle. All it takes is intuitiveness and some innovative thinking to use this smart app anyway you want. We’d be more than glad to offer you more exciting tips on how to use Creately. Plus we’re all eager to know what you think of how we have offered a new spin on things in this post, so please do go ahead and comment. In the meanwhile, stay tuned for some exciting posts from the rest of the Creately team soon!

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Part 3 : The ABCs of UML diagramming

This is the final post in this series, which was first kicked off last week. Just to remind you where we left off in Part 1; we talked about various UML building blocks, such as Things and what it encompasses. Things are further subdivided into (a) Structural, (b) Behavioral, (c) Grouping and (d) Annotational. In Part 2, we carried on our discussion of Things while leaving the aspects of Relationships and Diagrams to be explained in this final post.

RELATIONSHIPS

One of the most important building blocks of UML is the Relationships that are depicted in a UML diagram. Relationships tell us what elements are associated to each other. This type of association describes the particular functionality of applications. The different types of relationships are listed below.

(a) Dependency

This is a relationship that exists between two things where a change in one element may affect the other one.

(b) Association

This is a set of links, which connects elements of a UML model. This type of relationship also illustrates how many instances of an object are involved in that relationship.

(c) Generalization

A Generalization is defined as a relationship that makes a connection between a specialized element and a generalized element. This describes an inheritance relationship within the world of objects whereby a specialised object will inherit the behaviours and properties of the generalized parent object.

(d) Realization

A Realization is somewhat different from the relationships mentioned above and depicts the relationship between an interface and an implementation of a class. A responsibility is described by one element while the other implements it.

UML DIAGRAMS

What we have discussed in Part 1  and Part 2 of this series is beneficial if you are about to draw UML diagrams; all the various elements and relationships that have been highlighted thus far are utilized to complete a UML diagram.

So now where do we go from here? The answer is back to another two-part series that was posted close to a month ago.  This series will offer you a detailed look into UML diagrams and its subcategories i.e. Structural Diagrams and Behavioural Diagrams. Ideally both these two series of articles will cover the length and breadth of UML diagrams. If you haven’t read it already, you can embark on that knowledge-infused journey, right here. :0)

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PART 1: What type of UML diagram should you be using? « Creately Blog

UML as a subject is extremely vast, which is why this particular post is divided into two different parts. While I won’t be getting into the very basic aspects of UML diagrams today, I thought it would be pertinent to elaborate on the different types of UML diagrams and what exactly they should be used for. As most diagrammers may be aware, UML diagrams are generally divided into two main categories, i.e. Structural Diagrams and Behavioural Diagrams. While this post will concentrate on the former, expect to read all about the latter tomorrow in Part 2 of this series. So if you’re a newbie when it comes to all things UML, this really is the perfect starting point for you.

All about Structural Diagrams

Basically, Structural Diagrams depict the structural elements composing a system or function. These diagrams reflect the static relationships of a structure. It is these static parts, which are represented by classes, components, objects, interfaces and also nodes. Structural diagrams are further sub-divided into four types of diagrams.

Class Diagram:

Class diagrams are what most diagrammers are used to, since they are the most common type when it comes to UML design. Class diagrams usually consist of interfaces, classes, associations and collaborations. These types of diagrams represent the object-oriented view of a system that is largely static in nature. Having said that, an active class is something that is used in a class diagram to illustrate the concurrency of a system. Generally, a class diagram highlights the object orientation of a system is the most widely used diagram when it comes to system construction.

Object Diagram:

Object diagrams are generally described as an instance of a class diagram. So object diagrams would be closer to real life scenarios when it comes to implementing a system. These diagrams consist of a set of objects and their relationships are like class diagrams and are representative of the static view of a system. The utilization of such object diagrams are similar to class diagrams, however, they are used to construct a model of a system from a perspective that is practical.

Component Diagram:

Component diagrams are representative of a set of components and their relationships. The components present in these types of diagrams consist of classes, interfaces or collaborations. So such diagrams offer the implementation view of the system. During the design phase, software artifacts of the system are placed in various groups based on their relationship to each other. These groups are called components and are basically used to visualize the implementation process.

Deployment Diagram:

Deployment diagrams would illustrate a set of nodes and their respective relationships. These nodes are described as being physical entities where the components are deployed. Deployment diagrams are used for visualizing the deployment view of a system.

So there you have it. As you can see, UML is a vast and detailed subject, which is why I’ve kept it deliberately short and simple. I hope you will tune into this space tomorrow as well for Part 2 of this series. We’ve got more exciting knowledge-based posts on diagramming coming your way next week. Please do reach out to us if you got any queries on UML or diagramming in general, the team at Creately will only be more than glad to help you out!

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Untitled

UML as a subject is extremely vast, which is why this particular post is divided into two different parts. While I won’t be getting into the very basic aspects of UML diagrams today, I thought it would be pertinent to elaborate on the different types of UML diagrams and what exactly they should be used for. As most diagrammers may be aware, UML diagrams are generally divided into two main categories, i.e. Structural Diagrams and Behavioural Diagrams. While this post will concentrate on the former, expect to read all about the latter tomorrow in Part 2 of this series. So if you’re a newbie when it comes to all things UML, this really is the perfect starting point for you.

All about Structural Diagrams

Basically, Structural Diagrams depict the structural elements composing a system or function. These diagrams reflect the static relationships of a structure. It is these static parts, which are represented by classes, components, objects, interfaces and also nodes. Structural diagrams are further sub-divided into four types of diagrams.

Class Diagram:

Class diagrams are what most diagrammers are used to, since they are the most common type when it comes to UML design. Class diagrams usually consist of interfaces, classes, associations and collaborations. These types of diagrams represent the object-oriented view of a system that is largely static in nature. Having said that, an active class is something that is used in a class diagram to illustrate the concurrency of a system. Generally, a class diagram highlights the object orientation of a system is the most widely used diagram when it comes to system construction.

Object Diagram:

Object diagrams are generally described as an instance of a class diagram. So object diagrams would be closer to real life scenarios when it comes to implementing a system. These diagrams consist of a set of objects and their relationships are like class diagrams and are representative of the static view of a system. The utilization of such object diagrams are similar to class diagrams, however, they are used to construct a model of a system from a perspective that is practical.

Component Diagram:

Component diagrams are representative of a set of components and their relationships. The components present in these types of diagrams consist of classes, interfaces or collaborations. So such diagrams offer the implementation view of the system. During the design phase, software artifacts of the system are placed in various groups based on their relationship to each other. These groups are called components and are basically used to visualize the implementation process.

Deployment Diagram:

Deployment diagrams would illustrate a set of nodes and their respective relationships. These nodes are described as being physical entities where the components are deployed. Deployment diagrams are used for visualizing the deployment view of a system.

So there you have it. As you can see, UML is a vast and detailed subject, which is why I’ve kept it deliberately short and simple. I hope you will tune into this space tomorrow as well for Part 2 of this series. We’ve got more exciting knowledge-based posts on diagramming coming your way next week. Please do reach out to us if you got any queries on UML or diagramming in general, the team at Creately will only be more than glad to help you out!

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Understanding the Ishikawa diagram

When it comes to quality improvement, most of us are probably aware of some of the most effective tools, namely the control chart, run chart, histogram, scatter diagram and flowchart. But IMO the father of quality management, Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, has to be credited with the mother of all quality improvement tools – the Ishikawa diagram, which falls under the larger cause and effect diagram umbrella. It has been famously stated that Mazda used the Ishikawa diagram to design its popular MX-5 Miata sportscar, which has had the privilege of been called the “best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history” by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2000. Talk about the power of diagramming! We’ve done up three templates that you can click and edit in Creately. But before you do, have a read of this post to see some of the basics when it comes to Ishikawa diagrams.

A diagramming solution for every problem?

While Ishikawa diagrams are used to solve problems at a very high level, this need not always be the case. The basic outline of a template would be like the diagram below. Looking like the skeleton of a fish (hence they are also sometimes called a fishbone diagram), the various primary or secondary causes can be identified, which leads to the identification and solution of a problem.

What I really like about the Ishikawa diagram is that you can use it in any industry or field to solve problems that may either be behavioural or technical. Consider an issue like high employee turnover in a financial investment company. The diagram would probably look something like the one below. Of course, the various reasons could increase depending on how many can be identified.

Brainstorming the way Ishikawa wanted you to

Getting your hands dirty with an Ishikawa diagram does involve quite a bit of input. Remember – the focus is on WHAT the problem is and WHY it happens. The good thing about working on a diagram of this nature is that you need to collate everyone’s thoughts and try to come up with a solution to the problem at hand. Say you are an Operations Manager in a retail clothes company. You have identified along with the rest of the company’s middle-levels managers that sales have been dropping across all your stores. Now it’s a matter of following these steps.

1. Identifying and indicating the cause categories on the branches can at times be a source of confusion. If this is the case, using the 4 M’s (Machine, Man, Methods, Material) as categories would be good enough.

2. Conduct the session using these basic guidelines:

a) Ask each participant just once to identify the cause of the problem

b) Every cause that is identified should be hung on the category branch it belongs to

c) The session will go on till everyone has exhausted giving causes to the problem

3. The final step would be the process of interpretation. While there are many ways to do this, the quickest and most accepted method is to identify the main five causes on the diagram and to give them a rank, based on the data that is available. Finally it is a matter of investigating these causes and utilizing techniques to eliminate the problems identified.

The conventional way you would attack such a problem would be to get all relevant team members into one location to have a brainstorming sessions. But with your laptop transforming into your virtual office along with diagramming apps that give you collaborative features, there’s no reason why you can’t solve problems whether you are at home, at office or on the road.

Tags: collaboration, diagrams, examples, Features

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Creately just got faster and more responsive

Creately was always about intuitive diagramming that was fast and smart. We’ve always made it a point to keep upgrading our systems to ensure that you face no delay at all when it comes to creating those all-important diagrams. So as tweeted by Nick yesterday, you should notice an increase is speed when it comes to certain functions.

A faster app means a happier diagrammer

Some of the improvements also includes a faster response time when it comes to functions such as Create, Save, Open, Rename, Copy, and Delete diagrams, amongst many others. Other improvements include a quick response to opening the document manager and selecting as much as five diagrams at once! It’s a no brainer as to how this could translate to real-world benefits.

We reckon our performance upgrade would save you a whole lotta time, thanks to time being reduced when it comes to the usual diagramming functions such as opening documents, creating diagrams, saving and publishing them.  But there’s more reason to cheer, our performance upgrade has inherently improved the response time for Central Desktop as well. Read on to see how.

Central Desktop is fast, real fast

As most users may already know, Central Desktop offers a complete Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) collaboration platform, which allows business teams to communicate and collaborate online. This collaborative workspace gets more powerful now with Creately’s integration into Central Desktop’s platform that offers customers the ability to translate their ideas graphically.

The new online diagramming feature makes it extremely easy for users to create a visual diagram and embed that into online documents, wikis and discussions with just a few clicks. The good news is that this process has got quicker compared to what it was.

Access our Public Diagrams faster!

A real testament as to how versatile and easy-to-use Creately is would be the vast amount of diagrams drawn by our users. Currently we have in excess of 100,000 diagrams that encompass everything from Block Diagrams to UML Diagrams. This page has been a constant source of inspiration for new diagrammers and there are many diagrams that could be graded as Novice at one end to Professional at the other end. Despite having thousands of diagrams, the time taken to load a page is now quicker than what it was. You can click a diagram to view it on the Creately Diagram Viewer, which is also fairly fast now.

There are more improvements along the way (very soon!) in the form of bug fixes. We appreciate all the bug reports you guys have sent us and we’re hard at work to make sure Creately is that much smarter to work on. We’re all for constant improvement; if there are certain things you want improved, you’re more than welcome to pop us a tweet or send us an email.  It’s true what they say, sometimes it’s those small details that can make a world of difference.

Diagram references: http://www.psdgraphics.com/icons/psd-red-speedometer-icon/

Tags: announcement, collaboration, Customer First, Features

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Creately Desktop is on Adobe Marketplace!

Creately Desktop can now be found on Adobe Marketplace, which is a really great place to have an AIR application. It hosts the largest collection of apps that have been built using Adobe AIR and opens up a world of opportunity for new users. Check us out here. And while you are at it, please do give us some honest comments along with a generous vote. You know how much we do love feedback. We’re also gearing up to have Creately Desktop featured in other marketplaces so that enthusiastic diagrammers can enjoy the awesomeness of diagramming, so stay tuned to this space.

Tags: Adobe, announcement, collaboration, marketplace, wireframes

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Creately launches desktop-based diagramming application

Creately launches desktop-based diagramming application

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release)Feb 20, 2011 – Hot on the heels of being named one of Asia’s Top Ten applications and winning at the Australian iPitch 2010 awards, Creately announces the release of Creately Desktop, a powerful diagramming application that works across all major platforms and syncs automatically with the Creately.com online diagramming service.

“We have been working closely with our customers over the last 2 years and they have repeated asked for a desktop version of Creately that will offer the same features and ease of use without requiring an Internet connection” said Chandika Jayasundara, CEO of Cinergix Pty Ltd.

Creately Desktop’s main advantage is its 2 in 1 capability. Users who purchase Creately, will enjoy the advantages of both online and offline functionality. The desktop version offers the “Diagrams Anywhere” feature which allows users to work on diagrams offline while the system automatically syncs them with the online diagramming service at http://creately.com when they are connected to the Internet. This certainly seems the way to go as evidenced by a recent poll on makeuseof.com* where a majority of 46% stated that they prefer using a mixture of both desktop and web-based word processors.

“We have created a fantastic service with Creately.com and want to reach our users wherever they might be. We’re selling Creately on numerous marketplaces like Google Apps and the Chrome Store, but felt we were missing out an a large segment of users who want to know that their data is safe on their hard drive and accessible anytime.” added Chandika Jayasundara.

Although a desktop based application, Creately Desktop offers the same collaboration features as its online counterpart. Users can invite and share their diagrams with anyone, including users who do not have the application installed. Collaborators can login to http://creately.com to view, edit and comment on diagrams just like they do for the online service.

Creately Desktop is built on Adobe’s Air and Flex technologies and will run on all major operating systems. Download a copy here - http://creately.com/desktop

For more information visit our blog - http://creately.com/blog/announcements/creately-desktop-is-finally-here
http://creately.com/blog/beta/diagrams-anywhere-a-unique-feature-of-creately-…


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About Cinergix

Cinergix is an Australian company that builds and sells Creately - a diagramming platform
and its patent-pending KObject technology. Creately is a powerful web-based software
with an interactive interface and collaborative capabilities that is changing the way teams
communicate and collaborate online. Started in 2008 by a team from Sri Lanka, the UK, and Singapore, the company also runs a research and development centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For more information, visit http://creately.com/about-us.

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