To talk about what diagrams are, from a definition point of view, would be reinventing the wheel. However, the fact that they are commonly used in the business is a topic we encounter in our daily work. But Łukasz Jaźwa, who holds the role of Senior Software Engineer and Product Design Team Leader at Synergy Codes, will tell you how to manage data using diagrams as an advanced form of visualization and presentation.
Yet, it’s impossible to ignore an attempt to discuss what diagrams mean to us. We’re a team of specialists who help clients from all over the world to present complex data and processes in the form of tailor-made diagram applications in their daily work. In simple words, they clearly show the relationships between the data. Showing them in a numerical or verbal form (e.g., with the use of tables) is not sufficient due to the insufficient possibility of indicating the relationship between them. Therefore, simplification of your data with various types of diagrams allows you to add additional cognitive value to it, mainly through the use of visual elements such as colors, shapes, and links. Thanks to appropriate data representation, people who are less technical or less familiar with the topic can quickly understand nature, dependencies, and purpose using specific input. Also, diagrams serve as a tool for visual design or modeling dependencies, processes, and data. Therefore, they not only allow us to read and manage information effectively.
It’s also difficult to ignore the fact that the use of diagrams in organizations is a part of their operation. In addition to the visualization of complex networks of dependencies between activities and merging data in a visually pleasing way, they also allow you to easily represent processes (regardless of the industry) inside the company. The perfect example is the data visualization of the production process and customer service, or the product design process.
Q: Why is simplifying the diagram’s view important, and how it can be beneficial for the organization?
A: In my opinion, simplifying the diagram’s views allows you to emphasize the relationships between the data. It makes working with information faster and easier. The greater the automation of activities, the freer the daily activities related to data processing seem to be. What I mean is their export, import, sharing, sharing, and so on. The simplification of the views causes much easier project’s conducting. The more clearly the data is visualized, the easier it’s to prioritize, delve into a project structure, partial and global understanding of the process. A visual effect influences a better focus on the most crucial aspects and remembering the project’s flow. I find a close analogy with programming here. Complicated functionality used by others should be as simple as possible and without the need to understand all the intricacies. That’s why we use simple interfaces that incorporate the process’s logic. It helps to remove the information noise by applying simple solutions, and the difficulties are hidden in the interactive diagram.
Q: What if there are many objects in the diagram? How can simplicity be achieved?
A: If we are dealing with a thousand or more objects, it’s crucial to initially examine the relationship between them and decide on the grouping method. We can obtain the effect of an easy-to-read diagram by using several techniques. However, you need to know, that displaying so many objects in one space results in slower performance in the browser than in the backend. The effect of simplicity is therefore related strictly to taking care of the efficient displaying of the objects. One of the methods is the grouping or nesting of data, i.e., narrowing down to specific groups of data so that the initial group representation shows the most crucial input, and only then allows entering the details of subsequent dependencies. Virtualization solves the already mentioned rendering problems. It’s about displaying only those objects that should be within the screen boundaries. It is worth mentioning the selective rendering. Thanks to it, we can add or remove certain elements and objects from the view.
Q: What additional activities should be implemented after recognizing the nature of the data?
A: A nice and neat presentation of data on diagrams is supported by various types of algorithms. After analyzing the input, we can choose the appropriate algorithm to represent graphs in 2D space. We have at our disposal, among others, Tree Layout, Layered Digraph Layout, or Force Directed Layout, which is an example of simulating physical forces. We also use Circular Layout quite often to display data in a circle. Once you possess the knowledge of the specificity of given algorithms, you can use it to build optimal applications. The effect of “clean space” can also be obtained by using the zoom in / zoom out option. When you nest a large amount of data, small details (which the customer cares about) become unnoticeable when you rescale the diagram. The smaller it becomes, we can change the objects to simpler ones, devoid of displayed elements such as texts or additional data, or shadowings. Then the knowledge of Clustering, i.e., grouping data based on common dependencies or held information, is extremely useful.
Q: What knowledge should a specialist, who intends to use the effect of simplifying and economizing views, have?
A: First, it’s nice to know the details of the algorithms and data structures. The second issue is the knowledge of which device you are going to use. If you’re dealing with diagram applications, using the canvas is a good idea. We pay special attention to the speed of data operation. Unfortunately, there’s also the other side of the coin. We need to know how to deal with the operations on the canvas in HTML 5 well. Therefore, it’s worth getting acquainted with the graphical data representation libraries. A good example is GoJS, which simplifies the work in the canvas. The staple that, in my opinion, closes this topic is a seemingly prosy thing, but it happens that the lack of it may cause issues in working on diagrams. I mean, deepen your knowledge about the latest front-end trends. It allows you to design usability for the user based on the current trends in the front-end. So it seems natural to be up-to-date with these things because it means we don’t have to re-design everything.
In the face of the dynamically changing business world, it seems reasonable to use diagramming applications that support the processes in each organization. It is worth noting, however, the choice of custom solutions, such as those we deal with in projects at Synergy Codes, is reasonable. This type of application is adaptable to specific customer requirements. Our goal and task are to adjust the diagram to the company, and the client receives exactly what he needs and doesn’t have to pay for the undesired functionalities. Therefore, it is reasonable to say that custom solutions perfectly fit the spirit of economizing and simplifying diagrams so that they serve the development of the company, which they have been created for. You will learn more about our ideas for tailor-made solutions soon.