JTech Communications

Building Foundations with OmniGraffle

by Mira Brody - July 5, 2016
Web DesignWeb DevelopmentBest Practices
Omni Graffle and web design.
An example of some of the objects we use to build flowcharts with OmniGraffle.

OmniGraffle is a program from the OmniGroup for Mac and iOS that allows you to produce diagrams, flowcharts and more. We primarily use OmniGraffle to create flowcharts that will eventually manifest into advanced websites. These flowcharts help us to map out the structure of a site, allow us to more accurately determine the appropriate project budget, and to present the team with a tangible outline of the project we will soon be working on. Here are a few features of OmniGraffle we find most useful for use in web development:
  • Custom stencils — We almost exclusively use our own, personally designed stencils. Stencils are groups of vector art, pre-sized to our specifications, which make the elements on our flowchart immediately available for our use.
  • AppleScript compatible — OmniGraffle processes AppleScript, allowing us to put our diagrams to work. We created an AppleScript called jtCount, which allows us to keep a tally of all the different elements in a single flowchart, saving us tons of time. We use it to count the number of each object to help us formulate the project’s budget and we can count how many iterations exist of each object.
  • Canvases — Multiple canvases per document allow us to wireframe different states and pages of our websites. Within each canvas OmniGraffle offers discrete layers, which allows a huge amount of information to be stored on a single document in an un-chaotic way. We layer notes on top of flowcharts, so that important information is available, but can be hidden if the chart gets too cluttered.
  • Magnets — Magnets are used to affix your connecting line to a specific position on an object, as they otherwise connect to an object at the point of the shortest distance. This helps to keep your flowcharts organized and make visual sense.
These are just a handful of the many tools available in OmniGraffle. If you’re interested in more, in depth analysis, check out our article on SpeckyBoy. We’ve found OmniGraffle extremely useful in web design and are interested in hearing about your experiences with OmniGroup products as well!

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