He did it all in Visio, and the result is pretty impressive!
Visguy reader Chris Webb works for the Woodland Trust, which “is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity”. He wanted to show people in the Trust what systems were being used for receiving specific types of income.
The result of Chris’ hard work is this attractive specimen:
click to view larger image
This tale is a bit of a data-visualization success story. The brownish-red colored stream represents the income that goes through the CRM system. Once the diagram was finished, Chris showed it to fellow employees. It surprised a number of people here and helped them to focus on it’s importance. Chalk one up for diagrams-as-valuable-tools!
Chris didn’t use any of the fancy Sankey diagram shapes that we’ve talked about and shared on this web site. Instead, he made clever use of line thicknesses to create the diagram.
Here we can see that the “Sponsorship” flow has an ample line-thickness of 30pt.:
The biggest flow in the diagram is the “Direct Marketing” flow, which has a whopping 146pt line-weight!
By simply using the Format > Line dialog to make flows thicker and thinner, he could then use lines of any shape, including the smooth, flowing curves that you see in the diagram. I like the gentle curves in this diagram, and he a very nice use of color to distinguish different families of flow, yet still make an attractive diagram.
In contrast, shapes like those in Pre-wired Sankey Diagram Shapes, are (still) very limited in their geometry: they only do “straight arrow”. But, they have outlines, support gradient fills, have user-specified head and tail shapes, and are data-driven to some extent:
As usual, with Visio there are several ways to get the job done. So if you need fancy formatting and black outlines, then maybe the straight, Visio Guy shapes will work just fine. But if you need flowing curves, then Chris’ line-thickness technique is definitely the way to go!