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Summary:

A flowchart can be crucial for explaining certain tasks or ideas. SlickPlan‘s goal is to make sure that you can put together a flowchart quickly, no matter where you are. The web-based application also enables you to put together site maps and interact with your existing […]

A flowchart can be crucial for explaining certain tasks or ideas. SlickPlan‘s goal is to make sure that you can put together a flowchart quickly, no matter where you are. The web-based application also enables you to put together site maps and interact with your existing designs. It was created with web designers in mind, but anyone can quickly learn to use SlickPlan’s flowcharts.

SlickPlan doesn’t really differentiate between creating a web site plan or a flowchart, which can be a little confusing at first. But once you realize that it uses the same tool for both, you can quickly start adding items to a chart. The tool is fairly simple: You click the “Add a New Page” to add a bubble (whether it represents a page on a web site or an item on your chart) and select the page or item under which it will be located.” You also have a side bar listing each element and allowing you to move, edit or delete individual pieces. There aren’t a lot of fancy bells and whistles — but you won’t miss them. Instead, SlickPlan does one thing particularly well, allowing you to create a chart in no time flat. Even better, any project you put together with SlickPlan is clean and attractive enough to send out to clients comfortably.

Once you’ve got a chart or site map put together, SlickPlan offers you a few different options on what you can do with it. Most importantly, you can save it and work on it later. You can also save multiple versions of a project. By opening up individual projects, you can access an HTML embed code that allows you to add your chart to other sites, export your project as a PDF and send a link to anyone you need to look at your chart. You can save an unlimited number of projects to your SlickPlan account at this point.

There are a few places where SlickPlan could use a little bit of polish. The application itself is easy enough to use, but the way certain buttons are labeled can make it seem like you can only create site plans, rather than use it for flowcharts and other options — uses that are specifically mentioned on the application’s web site. The application was developed by Atomic Interactive, a web development studio. SlickPlan was not created for a client, however; instead, it’s more of an internal tool meant to eliminate the frustration of trying to build site maps in Illustrator or InDesign. The resulting application makes knocking out a fast chart easy.

You may find that SlickPlan is not quite so useful if you want to add notes about individual elements or need to make more elaborate charts. In such scenarios, you may want to consider a more robust tool. Otherwise, it’s a useful tool at the right price. SlickPlan’s developers intend to keep it free, as well, relying on ads and donations to cover the site’s costs.

What tools do you use to create flowcharts?

  1. I use OpenOffice.org Draw to build all sorts of flow charts. It is a local install, rather than a web-based tool, but you can get as complicated and intricate as you want, or pound out a simple chart as fast as you can place the premade shapes. OpenOffice is free and open-source, so the price is right, and licensing issues are non-existent. The learning curve is minimal, since OpenOffice.org is a bit like a super-featured MS Office 2000 (no ribbon interface.

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