Guest Diagram : Predicting Gas Usage

February 15, 2015

This week I received an email from e-Learning expert Matt Grist of Junifer Systems. Matt had a few comments on the software (thanks Matt) and shared a SimpleDiagram he created for one of his online training courses.

Here's Matt's commentary on the diagram:

This diagram is rather complicated. Or perhaps more precisely, the diagram tries to explain a complicated task: how gas suppliers predict how much gas a customer is going to use based on their previous meter readings, where they live, the weather for the next year, and an estimate (i.e. guess) at global gas prices over the next twelve months.

I’m quite new to the gas industry and what I find impressive is that the result of this calculation is much more accurate than rolling a dice. Anyway, this diagram obviously some accompanying explanation, which I’m currently writing. But I think the diagram is really going to help me get my point across.

Some tips I found useful for making this diagram:

  • Once I drew the three coloured boxes, I right-clicked and locked them to keep them in pace.
  • This diagram ended up in a Word document. Every now and then, I exported the diagram as a PNG and pasted it into Word to make sure that the text was large enough to read. I just about got away with it if I pasted it into a landscape page. (Remember that if readers can’t read text, what was the point of creating the diagram? I’m a technical writer and I see this problem over and over again.)
  • The icons have text above or beside them. Most of this text is in separate text boxes, which means I can move the text wherever I like around the icon. When I’m happy with its position, I select the text and the icon (with shift + click) and group together.”

Thanks for sharing the diagram, Matt. If any other of you want to share what you've developed with SimpleD, just email me at