Some Assembly Required
Chronological Order
Create a Flowchart
Subdividing Flowcharts
Closed and Open Flowcharts

In directional process writing, a diagram or drawing outlining the important steps of the process helps the reader get the big picture. Diagrams don't include all the details of the written process description, but they're a great way to present an overview that will make the full set of instructions easier to follow.

Technical writers often use a particular type of diagram called a flowchart. The basic flowchart summarizes the procedure, showing the steps in the process with labelled rectangles or circles, connected by arrows showing the direction of the process.

This simple flowchart outlines the basic process of applying for admission to a university:

What's missing?

Do you have any questions about this university's admission process after reading the flowchart? Do you wonder, for example, what are the mailing addresses of the university's Registrar's Office and Student Services office? Or how to arrange for a copy of your transcript? Can students apply for early admission? What about students who are applying after having worked for a year, instead of continuing on straight from high school? How does one apply for a place in the university's residence?

These questions would probably be addressed in the written instructions accompanying the flowchart, but the diagram gives a useful overview. Students can see at glance, for example, that applying for admission to a university isn't a one-step procedure, so they should begin planning early.

Some Assembly Chronological Order