As designers, our common goal is to create products that make work easier. After all, one of the most important features of good design is ease-of-use and understanding. We have to build tools that are easy to use from the start.
From my experience as a designer at SAP's Design & Co-Innovation Center, one common issue we face during our design research is the (mis)understanding of roles–the expert and a typical end user. While these roles have a lot of overlap, they are not interchangeable.
A swimlane diagram is a type of flowchart, and it can be used to display the same type of information (data, deliverables, actions and interactions etc.). A swimlane diagram documents the steps or activities across borders (a flowchart is limited to a close linear process in general) and shows which step and activity belongs to which throughout processes; that’s why it’s also called a cross-functional diagram or a cross-channel diagram. What makes a swim-lane-diagram special and unique is that the elements within the flowchart are placed and matched together in lanes, and you can plan and coordinate when and how a channel is required. These lanes can help identify and visualize stages, organizational units, or any other set of separated categories.