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Can Visio be used to create interactive flow diagrams linked to external media?

Started by td-london, August 29, 2008, 10:56:41 AM

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Hi. I am working on a project to create a documentation method to diagram a User Experience flow and attach to that further levels and types of information. The kinds of things we would like it to do are

-- Be able to collapse the flow to very high level steps or be able to expand any of those steps to sub steps within
-- Be able to show how this diagram would look for particular types of users (edited versions of flows)
-- Be able to link to media files to illustrate the material
-- Have it be interactive, so the person looking at it could explore it at will
-- Have it be scaleable, and reusable to illustrate other flows (probably build the structure and then populate it from some sort of spreadsheet or database)

I had initially thought of it as something built in Flash as a basic structure, which pulled information and layers in from external folders, or even from a database. I've also heard of some Visio capabilities, including sub-charts and database integration.

Is Visio plus some further tools a good way to go with this? Can any of you suggest tool(s) that we could use, or a supplier who could build a structure for us? I'm based in the UK.
Many thanks.

Visio Guy


Visio shapes can be hyperlinked to "sub" pages in a Visio document that further detail a process. They can also be hyperlinked to external content on the web.

You can export a Visio document to an html format that preserves these links. If the user is using IE, that exported html document can have a vector format that pans and zooms well.

Getting live/animated collapses and expansions is not something that Visio would provide you out of the box. I don't know how open the Flash format is, but I've often wondered how hard it would be to create some sort of automated solution that could take fairly-static Visio drawings, and export/massage them into a rich flash experience.

- Chris
For articles, tips and free content, see the Visio Guy Website at
Get my Visio Book! Using Microsoft Visio 2010


RE: animation...I started to prototype something along this line.   A couple of things to note
   - You need to create a timer and control shape for the time (done...not too bad)
   - You probably want to hide the toolbars during animation (done...not too bad...thx visio guy)
   - You need to define the animation set
         - right now I have a way to set different points along a path..aka simulate movement of shape
         - still need to do things with color and such
   - In order to make general purpose, probably want an generic animation shape (scope sight)
     and take whatever shape of interest and "add to group".   Ie animation shape does all the movement
     maybe formating and apply to real shape in group
   - You need to think about the sequence aspects
         - Timer sets cadence for entire pick the "tic" to trigger movement and such
         - But need to think about how to select the "tic" (my current thinking is custom props + macro).
         - of course, the speed of the movement (hop to next or incremental hopes to show a flow like
           behavior (my current thinking is take delta of current point and next point and move 10% of the
           distance for some sub "tic").

Obviously would not need to do this if powerpoint had two things: ability to have precision placement
(that "grids per unit of measure" makes powerpoint equivalent to using fat crayons) and the ability to
add new/different connector shapes to tailor path/layout.   


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