I ran across a fantastic free tool yesterday while reading Tom Kuhlmann’s Rapid eLearning blog. It is called SimpleDiagrams and it IS simple and it makes them quickly and effectively. They look like this:
Or like this:
In the case of this latter diagram I used an image map to create the link to watch the video, as the diagram implies.
The diagrams were so simple to create, and the program so elegantly put together, that I bought the for-pay version immediately (only $19) which gave me the right to download additional image libraries (not as useful as you might think) and have access to any font on my system, and not the single Arial font that comes with the free version (very valuable).
To get a thorough idea of how the program works you cannot do better than check Kuhlmann’s video tutorials:
Kuhlmann also gives away some free templates, and links to some free, hand-drawn fonts for installation on Mac or PC.
The program allows for free hand drawing, has a truly elegant line tool, allows color, alignment, and other basic features of drawing programs, but keeps the interface simple and intuitive. The for-pay version also provides a variety of backgrounds (it doesn’t HAVE to be an old fashioned chalk board,but even though we rarely even see them any more they still smack of a certain nostalgic authority). You can import your own graphics,annotate with sticky notes or index cards (all with the free version), and can build custom libraries with your own imported PNG graphics.
The product could use a method for creating a least a single URL link associated with each diagram–or preferably multiple areas, like an image map tool, and a fill tool, but other than that I think it is enormously impressive. Give it a try and download some of the resources from the Rapid eLearning blog that supplement it, and I think you will be as impressed as I am with this tool.