Working with Draw.io
Need an easy way to build simple flowcharts? Here’s my tip on a helpful tool
It’s been a fun quarter for the gang at Cheeky Monkey Media, and we’re seeing some great things happening on both the production floor and within the sales & marketing team. In fact, back in February, the sales team added a new prospector – a great step towards establishing a more predictable and process-driven funnel.
With the addition of a new team member, there was suddenly more time on my plate to look at some of the strategies and initiatives that we’ve been eager to start. At the outset, I found that putting thoughts and brainstorms down on paper was a fantastic first move. Unfortunately, when you’re developing processes and step-by-step strategies, paper notes and scribblings don’t help to identify the workflow.
A timely introduction
Thankfully, our eager new monkey pointed me in the direction of Draw.io. Now, I’m sure a lot of people out there have already heard of this, but for me, it was brand new. If you haven’t tried it, Draw.io is a simple little online tool that helps you easily create flowcharts – a great thing for me as I worked towards putting pieces in the right order and identifying omissions in the strategic plan.
The interface is pretty simple – you open it up and you have a nice blank chart in front of you. Drag and drop icons, shapes, arrows, lines, etc. are all ready to be added to your flowchart, and moved freely around the drawing board.
Text entry is simple, either drag a textbox onto the page, or simply double click for an auto-generated text box. Within the basic setup (which is all I really needed) there are options for colors, styles, fonts, spacing and more. Overall, for my straightforward needs, this little tool was fantastic, and has happily made it into my “must have” bookmarks.
In fairness, I haven’t really taken the program for a good spin yet. I’m pretty sure there are a ton of other tools and apps available to me that will make my flowcharts even more presentable. That said, I was really just looking for a simple way to organize a process and workflow without having to dig too deep into some of the bigger database and resource planning programs. Honestly, while I like to consider myself pretty tech-literate, some of these massive programs are just too much for me to work with, and they just frustrate me while trying to learn.
Draw.io was easy enough to get working right from the start, with pretty limited energy and no frustration required. Further, its ability to save files directly to DropBox, Google Drive, or to an external device made it nice and easy to keep files organized and shared with those that needed to see them.
Figure 1 - The Draw.io Dashboard
Well, not really a disclaimer, when you consider all I’m claiming is that absolutely nobody paid me to write a positive review of this tool. Moreover, I didn’t have to spend any money to use it (oh, forgot to mention the FREE part, didn’t I?), so I’m not suffering from post-purchase justification syndrome.
No, my satisfaction with Draw.io, and the ease at which I put together a few simple flowcharts, was more than enough motivation for me to share my experience. While I’m certain more technically savvy users may find the tool too simplistic for what they’re looking to achieve, I’m pretty sure the average person will find great use from it.
For the ease of setup (navigate to the site, sign up for a free account, start using), simplicity of the interface (drag, drop, double click, type) and the end result of the work (I won’t present my flowcharts to Donald Trump, but they’re pretty enough for my tastes) I would highly recommend Draw.io to any business professional that just needs to organize some thoughts and plans.
Really, at the end of the day, as a marketer, we’re already spending a frustrating amount of time trying to read the minds of the buying public. Organizing the plan into a useful flowchart shouldn’t have to be another drain on our sanity.
Figure 2 – One of my “Works in Progress”