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Empowering your design process with Cacoo’s flowchart maker

How-tosDesign & UXCacoo
Cacoo Staff

Cacoo Staff

February 26, 2024

Whether you’re a full-time designer, a student making your way in the industry, or someone at a startup who wears every hat in the marketing team, mastering the product design process is central to your success. 

Design processes help you tackle large, complicated projects by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Instead of starting every design project with a blank slate and no clear direction, embracing design processes provides your team with additional structure, driving increased clarity.

Creating great design processes and encouraging everyone in your organization to adopt them can take some time, and you’ll likely face challenges along the way. Without the right approach, the design process can drive confusion, not clarity. One key to your success: ensuring that your team can easily communicate and collaborate. 

That’s where Cacoo comes in. Cacoo, an online diagramming software from Nulab, helps teams map design processes intuitively and collaboratively. 

Meet Cacoo: intuitive online diagramming and flowchart software

Cacoo is a cloud-based online diagramming platform that enables creative professionals to collaborate on flowcharts, mind maps, and more. The platform is easy for everyone to use but also contains a series of powerful tools built for the unique needs of the design community. 

Today, millions of people around the world are using Cacoo’s flowchart maker software to collaborate on design projects. Whether you want to use Cacoo to create a flowchart to map out your team’s design process or create product wireframes, we’re confident you’ll find Cacoo ideally suited to your needs. 

Cacoo offers a wide range of features ideally suited for the needs of design professionals and other creatives, including:

  • Cacoo template library: Containing dozens of pre-configured design templates, including many different flowcharts, the Cacoo template library is the perfect place to get your project off to a fast start. 
  • Shape library: Explore the vast collection of shapes, icons, and connectors in Cacoo and use them to illustrate different characteristics and relationships in design processes.  
  • Collaboration tools: Design teams can work on the same Cacoo flowchart together in real time, communicating through comments, a dedicated chat thread, and in-app video calling. 
  • Sharing tools: Share design process diagrams with stakeholders in a variety of ways, including through hyperlinks, email, or by embedding your diagram in an external web property. You can also export flowcharts in various formats or use Cacoo’s presentation mode to share your work with a live audience. 
  • And more: Cacoo has an endless array of design tools, including version history, shared folders, dynamic charts, and more. 

All told, Cacoo is a fantastic tool for mapping out design processes. Today, we’re going to walk you through exactly how you can use Cacoo at every stage of the design process, including:

  1. Defining and visualizing design problems using a flowchart
  2. Generating and organizing design ideas using a flowchart
  3. Collaborating and communicating design ideas using a flowchart
  4. Testing and refining design ideas using a flowchart

As we walk through each of these stages of the design process, we’ll explore the different ways Cacoo flowcharts can be used and explain how you can create your own design process flowcharts. 

If you’d like, you can sign up for a free Cacoo account now and follow along with us. By the time we’re done, you’ll be well on your way to creating better design processes in your organization. 

Step 1: Defining and visualizing design problems using a flowchart

If you’ve ever grappled with a complex design challenge, you know that one of the first steps to coming up with an elegant solution is defining exactly what the problem is. As you set about this process, it’s almost always helpful to create a visual representation of the design problem. 

Many frameworks can be used to visualize design problems, and flowcharts are right up there with the best of them. Flowcharts are diagrams representing workflows, design processes, or a series of activities in a simple, visual manner. They can be used to display the chronological flow of a design process, clarify the scope of a design problem, and identify the key stakeholders involved in a process. 

Defining and visualizing design challenges allows everyone to wrap their heads around the scope of a problem and better understand the requirements of potential solutions. Cacoo makes it easy for anyone to create a flowchart – regardless of whether they’re a designer or not. 

How to create a flowchart in Cacoo

To get started, log in to your Cacoo account and navigate to the Cacoo template library. Browse the templates until you find the one best matched to your needs. You can find our flowchart templates under the Diagramming & Modeling category. 

Pro tip: don’t limit yourself to templates with “flowchart” in the name – Cacoo offers many templates that can be used to create design process flowcharts. 

Click Use template to open up a new diagram. From here, you can customize the template to your exact needs, using Cacoo’s drag-and-drop interface to add new shapes, edit text, update colors, and more. 

New shapes, icons, connectors, and text can be added from the menu bar on the left-hand side of the diagram. Just select your desired element and drag it into place on your diagram. 

Edit the size and position of shapes using the drag-and-drop tool. Adjust the color, line style, and shadow of a shape by selecting it and then choosing the appropriate option in the menu bar. Editing text is similarly easy – all you have to do is click on a text box and start typing! 

Cacoo makes editing your flowchart a breeze, helping you move past design basics and spend more time focusing on the real task at hand: understanding and solving your design problem. 

Consider the simple example depicted in the image above, where a design team wants to ensure consensus on changes to an element within a design process. At first glance, this sounds like a simple design problem, but as you map out the process, it’s clear that several stages and stakeholders are involved. Considering each of these is important to ensure that your team is aligned as you move forward. 

Step 2: Generating and organizing design ideas using a flowchart

Flowcharts aren’t just great for clarifying design problems; they’re also a fantastic way to generate and organize new design ideas. Many teams use Cacoo to brainstorm new concepts, sort and prioritize ideas, and clarify the scope of design projects. 

Cacoo comes with a variety of features that empower designers to manage their team’s most promising ideas better, whether that’s color-coding design elements to create clear categorization or adding comments to flowchart elements to solicit feedback from specific teammates. 

To use Cacoo to generate and organize your design ideas, start by following the steps outlined in the previous section to create a new flowchart. Then, schedule some time for everyone to log on to Cacoo together to brainstorm, discuss, and organize new design ideas. 

As your team works together, they can see each other’s cursors move around, helping them understand what everyone is working on. Teams can share ideas in comments, the in-diagram chat thread, or via sticky notes that call out specific design ideas. 

As your team continues to ideate new ideas, it’s easy to add them to your Cacoo flowchart. Add new branches and shapes to your flowchart using the drag-and-drop editor, selecting the shape, icon, or connector you’d like to use, then dragging it to the appropriate place on your mindmap. 

If you’d like, you can even import design ideas from external sources, including Google Drive and Adobe Creative Cloud, thanks to Cacoo’s built-in integrations. To import these concepts, click the Import icon in the diagram toolbar and select the platform from which you’d like to import files. 

There are endless ways to use Cacoo to brainstorm design ideas, but the screenshot below is an excellent example of how Cacoo empowers design teams to generate and organize design ideas more efficiently. 

This User-Centered Design Process template helps design teams map out the key considerations that must be evaluated for the team to design compelling products that users will love. With a simple structure, clear color-coding, and space to add plenty of new ideas, this framework is the perfect tool for designers to dream up visionary new ideas that are closely aligned with customer and business needs. 

Step 3: Collaborating and communicating design ideas using a flowchart

One of the best parts about using a cloud-based flowchart platform like Cacoo is how the platform functions as a hub for all of your team’s collaborative efforts. Cacoo comes with a wide range of collaboration and communication tools that empower teams to work together on complex design projects, no matter where team members are based. 

It’s a great solution for remote and hybrid teams, allowing team members to collaborate both in real-time and on an asynchronous basis. To illustrate how teams can work together in Cacoo, let’s explore a hypothetical design process. 

At the beginning of the design process, your team might start with a brainstorming session. Start by setting up a Cacoo diagram with a template that’s suitable for your brainstorm: perhaps one of the platform’s mind map or flowchart templates. Invite every team member to the Cacoo diagram via an email invitation and schedule a time for everyone to connect. 

When it’s time to meet, everyone logs in to Cacoo, where they’ll find a pre-built brainstorm template waiting for them. Start your brainstorming by starting a video call inside the Cacoo app, allowing everyone to participate in the session in real time, whether at home or in the office. 

As your team discusses various design ideas, they’ll be able to see their teammates’ cursors move around the diagram in real time, as shown in the illustration above. This makes clear what part of the diagram each team member is working on and allows colleagues to understand the ideas their team members are referencing. Users can also share their screens during video calls. 

After the initial brainstorming session is over, it’s likely that your team still has a lot more work to do before it has a finalized design idea that everyone loves. As individual team members continue to make changes to the flowchart, they can add comments, tag team members for review, and send messages in the in-app chat thread. 

Team members receive activity notifications every time the diagram is updated. Teams can also use Cacoo’s version history tools to understand the various iterations of their diagram. 

Once your team is aligned on the design idea captured in your flowchart, they’ll likely have to share it with a broader audience: software developers, marketers, executives, and so on. When it comes time to do that, Cacoo provides several tools to present and share your team’s work:

  • Presentation mode: Present your design process flowchart directly from Cacoo by entering presentation mode. Just click the Play icon in the top-right corner of your diagram. 
  • Share via email or hyperlink: Invite others to view, comment, and edit your diagram by sending them an email invitation or a direct hyperlink to your flowchart.
  • Embed the diagram in external web properties: Add your diagram to project management apps like Backlog or embed it in an internal wiki or intranet page to share it with a broader audience. 
  • Export or print the diagram: Download your diagram in PDF, SVG, PPT, and other formats, or print a physical copy directly from Cacoo. 

With such a rich variety of ways to collaborate on design projects and share your team’s ideas, it’s easy to see why Cacoo is so widely loved by the global design community. Cacoo enables teams to shorten feedback loops, work together from anywhere, and accelerate progress toward their most ambitious goals.   

Step 4: Testing and refining your design ideas using a flowchart

As your design process progresses, you’ll likely want to test your design ideas with users and stakeholders. Based on the feedback you gather in this stage, your team can further refine its ideas and work toward a final design that’s attuned to both user and business needs. 

Involving a variety of stakeholders in the design process is vital to your team’s success. By doing so, you can tap into diverse perspectives that help everyone better understand how users will interact with a proposed design. 

Cacoo is the perfect platform to test and refine your design ideas in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders. You can present and share your designs in just a few clicks, making collecting feedback from all relevant parties easy. If you’d like to share multiple versions of a design, each with subtle tweaks, use Cacoo’s revision history or versioning features to share all of your team’s proposed design options. 

Consider the below data flowchart for an eCommerce website. This flowchart displays the various steps that must be completed between a customer ordering a product online and the business shipping it out to them. The design team in charge of launching the new website wants to verify that other stakeholders in the business are aligned with this design process before finalizing the website design. 

By sharing this flowchart with internal stakeholders, such as the company’s operations and fulfillment team, the design team can verify that their solution is a functional approach that will address the business’s needs. If there are issues with this design, the operations and fulfillment team can highlight them in the Cacoo diagram and propose new solutions by adding comments. This feedback allows the design team to understand exactly how and where they need to refine their design for the new website to succeed. 

Adopting processes like these makes for a far smoother design process that’s more enjoyable for every stakeholder involved in the process. By gathering feedback quickly, designers can move at pace, quickly improving their designs to better match the needs of all stakeholders. 

Build your first Cacoo flowchart today

Empowering your team’s design processes with Cacoo is a home run. Adopting a platform like Cacoo unlocks a wide variety of benefits for your team, from the ability to gather and brainstorm design ideas remotely to the ease with which your team can share design ideas and collect feedback. 

Cacoo offers designers a more efficient way to approach the design process. Using Cacoo will save your team time, freeing them up to focus all of their creative energies on innovating game-changing designs that move the needle for your business. 

Ready to get started with Cacoo? Sign up for a free account today to create your first design process flowchart, or explore our paid plans to unlock all of Cacoo’s most powerful features. 



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