I was recently in the market for a new flow-charting tool. I’m budget-minded, so of course I wanted a tool loaded with essentials that didn’t cost too much. I also needed it to be intuitive and versatile. A friend recommended I check out Lucidchart, and what I found was much more than I expected from an $8.95 per month flowchart maker. I’m still exploring its many features.
Because I create process diagrams for my work as a technical writer, the tool has to be easy to work with. Optimally, it should require minimal fiddling around with sticky connectors. Lucidchart has this covered very well with libraries of shapes to drag and drop, along with cursor-drag connectors. Connecting the shapes is a slide-and-release move, and is also easy to use. The shapes library includes shapes that are designed for various industries, but not limited to processes, stream mapping, concepts, mockups, or wireframes.
For example, check out their wireframe demo. This short video illustrates how to create a mockup with a hotspot pop-out window, which is quite handy for showing clients how their new website will look and interact. You can also have additional images on the side to customize their mockup right on the spot while you interact with them. All of this adds style and responses to your presentation. Or, if your customers don’t like this photo, you can slide it off the page and pop another into its place in seconds.
For ease of collaboration, Lucidchart sets you up with real-time chat, cross-platform versatility, and a state of the art cloud-based feature that lets you save documents and then pick them up later from the cloud to show the client. If your clients use Visio, you can export your Lucidchart diagrams as Visio files. You can also make and save templates, and integrate them with productivity tools like Google Apps, Confluence, and JIRA. You can even pull content for your charts from Facebook, YouTube, and Dropbox.
This list of great functionality continues, but I’d like to emphasize that through all of these capabilities, Lucidchart maintains a very easy-to-use interface. And for busy but determined folks like me, I appreciate picking up a new tool and making it work in just a few minutes. That’s my most important test. Lucidchart makes the grade, and then some.
Did I mention the flexible pricing? Lucidchart has basic and enterprise plans that are available by the month or year. This is the most inexpensive tool I’ve found in a long time. Happy diagramming to you!
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