Are you cringe-worthy with the network diagrams you create? If you’re feeling embarrassed, we have good news for you. You are not alone! Many people find it difficult to represent a company’s network in a readable and understandable fashion. We all know that visual communication is an important part of business today. But, how many times have you seen horrible-looking network diagrams? Even if they contain accurate information, readers will struggle to understand them. When a document is full of vague phrases and complex sentences, readers struggle even more. In this blog post, we’ll show you 12 ways to improve your network diagrams in 5 minutes or less. Every one of these ideas is easy to implement, and they will make a big difference in the clarity of your documents moving forward.
1. Decide on a layout
One of the most important decisions you’ll make when creating your network diagram is deciding on a layout. The layout of your diagram will set the tone and style for the rest of your document. It will dictate how your readers interpret your data, so choose wisely. If you’re confused about which layout to use, try looking at examples from other organizations in your industry. You can learn a lot from how others are visualizing their networks. You may even find an existing network diagram template that you can use as a starting point for your own diagram. If you’re creating a layout from scratch, start with the core components of your network. These are the devices that are critical to the operation of your network. From there, you can build out your diagram by adding additional components as needed.
2. Use readable font sizes
Font sizes are an often-overlooked element of a diagram. In a rush to get everything else just right, people often forget to adjust font sizes. And if the font size is too small, readers will struggle to make out the writing. Why does font size matter? Basically, the smaller the font, the fewer words you can fit on your network diagram. And fewer words on your diagram means less information for readers to interpret. This makes it crucial to use readable font sizes on your diagram. When deciding on the font size for your diagram, think about how long your device descriptions are. If they’re long, use a larger font size so they’re readable. But if they’re short, smaller font size will be just fine.
3. Use easy-to-recognize icons
The purpose of your diagrams is to communicate information in a clear and concise manner. Unfortunately, a lot of people fall into the trap of using overly complex symbols and images. This is a huge mistake. If you try to communicate everything with images, your diagram will quickly become cluttered. And if you use an overly complex image, readers will struggle to interpret it. Essentially, if you’re using an image, make sure it is easy to recognize. Otherwise, readers might have no idea what it means. For example, some common and easy-to-recognize images include a computer, a cloud, and a router. You can use these images to represent different devices on your network.
4. Don’t go crazy with colors
We’ve all seen those network diagrams that are filled with vivid, ridiculous colors. This is an unnecessary and confusing choice, particularly when you’re working with just two colors in a particular diagram. You’ll want to use two colors in your diagram if you’re trying to show different components of your network (e.g., the Internet and the intranet). If this is the case, you’ll want to use two colors that aren’t too similar but also aren’t too far apart. You’ll want to avoid colors that are too similar because you won’t be able to tell them apart. And colors that are too far apart will look like completely different components.
5. Show device names and descriptions
If you’re representing a complex network, you’ll want to include a brief description of each device on your diagram. This will help readers understand your network more thoroughly and determine which devices are critical to business operations. If you’re not sure what to write for each device, simply ask yourself: What is this device responsible for? What does it do? How does it work? Once you know this information, you can write a simple description. Keep in mind that you don’t need to write a novel for each description. A short description of each device is enough. If you write too much, your readers won’t read the entire thing.
6. Show only essential connections
Network diagrams are supposed to be a visual representation of your network. But, if a diagram is too visual, it will become cluttered and unreadable. This means that you don’t need to show every single connection between devices. You only need to show the essential connections. These are the ones that are vital to the operation of your network. If you’re not sure what connections to show, ask yourself: What are the critical connections in my network? What data moves between these devices? If a connection doesn’t affect the vital data in your network, you can leave it out of your diagram.
7. Rotate network device orientation
You may be used to seeing network diagrams with devices on the left side of the page and wires on the right. While this is the most common layout for network diagrams, it isn’t the only way to go. You can also flip your network diagram so that the devices are on the right side of the page and the wires are on the left side. This will allow you to show more devices on the page while minimizing lengthy wires between devices. This might seem like an insignificant change, but it can make a big difference in the readability of your diagram. You’ll be able to fit more devices on the page while making your diagram easier to follow.
8. Use Shapes That Readers Understand
When deciding which devices to represent on your network diagram, you’ll want to select shapes that readers understand. If you use a shape that readers are unfamiliar with, they might not understand what it means. You can avoid this problem by using shapes that readers are familiar with. If you’re not sure what shapes to use, look at diagrams from other organizations in your industry. You may even find an existing network diagram template that you can use as a starting point for your own diagram. You can also use a network diagram maker to create a visual representation of any network architecture, regardless of its complexity or extent. This will ensure that your readers understand the devices you’re representing on your diagram.
9. Summarize important information in a header or footer
Most network diagrams will contain several devices, connections, and data paths. You may even have multiple pages for a single diagram. In this case, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s on each page. You can help readers keep their bearings by summarizing the most important information on every page of your diagram. Simply write down the most critical connections and devices in a header or footer at the top or bottom of every page of your diagram. This can be very helpful for readers who are trying to take in a lot of information at once.
If you want readers to understand your network diagram, don’t overlook the importance of layout and design. Decide on a layout that will set the tone for your diagram, and use readable font sizes while avoiding over-the-top colors. You can also use easy-to-recognize icons, brief descriptions, and shapes that readers understand to enhance the readability of your diagram. All of these elements will help readers understand your network diagram better, which will in turn make your business more productive. Now that you know what to do, it’s time to apply these tips to your network diagrams. By improving the visual design of your diagrams, you can enhance communication among employees and stakeholders.
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