More possibilities in graphics

Multiple options: Several methods are available to present data, which can communicate better than words sometimes.

Multiple options: Several methods are available to present data, which can communicate better than words sometimes.   | Photo Credit: Photo: AFP


Many graphics options can be used to enhance the effectiveness of technical writing.

“I get involved in new ideas, production and graphic design.

It’s scientific, challenging and most importantly, great fun!”

— Heather Reid

Last week, this column discussed the benefits of using graphics in technical writing and illustrated them by citing examples of tables, bar charts, pie diagrams and graphs. We shall now look at a few more options in graphics.

Gantt chart: Also known as schedule chart, it focusses on the activity sequence and timing for various components of a job, giving a visual representation of the progress of a project. The starting time, reporting of milestones and planned time of completion can be shown. The x-axis will show the time (hours, dates, weeks, months, or years). Provide grid lines so that the reader can easily pinpoint the time and stage.

Organisational chart: It shows the hierarchy or chain of command in an office. There may be a chairman at the top with three general managers and an accounts officer under his control, with two deputy managers under the control of each general manager and so on.

Flow chart: Also known as flow diagram, it is a graphic representation showing the sequence in a process. Special symbols are used to indicate operation, transportation, storage, delay and inspection or measurement.

These charts are used not only for explaining processes but also for job simplification and process improvement by efficiency experts.

Circuit diagram: Suppose you want to explain the circuit components and electrical connections inside a television monitor. No amount of words can help. We have to go for diagrams. They represent the various electrical and electronic components, their layout and the way in which they stand connected. This method is used in every electrical and electronic system.

Map: We are familiar with the use of maps in the study of geography. Maps are essential in architecture, planning, civil constructions, building of roads, highways and rails and so on.

Machine drawing: Details pertaining to machine parts will have to be conveyed from the design office to the workshops and factories. This is done with the aid of machine drawing. In order to depict the shape and specify the dimensions, engineers use views called plan, elevation, end view and cross sections, drawn strictly to scale. Pictorial views may not be of help for the purpose.

Line sketch: In many cases simple line sketches, not drawn to scale, will be adequate to convey information on simple objects. Use of the sketches will save us from giving long descriptions. The sketch shows the formation of a dovetail joint made by carpenters. This principle can be used in a wide variety of applications.

More articles in this series at >

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