The Roadmap Pattern
Provide a visual overview of a system or a process, laying out all the high priority milestones, and end-goals/outcomes.
It helps a user to get a bird’s eye view of complexity, and identify paths through it.
Type of Design
Good for Contexts like
Understanding the System
Navigating a Process
Problems & Contexts It Can Work For
Use a Roadmap when your user lacks a holistic understanding of the choices and potential outcomes in the system, as well as specific knowledge of how to proceed through a system.
It is useful in orienting the user in the system and giving her fundamental contextual understanding. Use it when you want to introduce a person who is just coming to know the system, and use it when you want to show potential paths that the person could take — so that she can see the length of the process, the steps involved, and the destinations. It is also useful when actually navigating a chosen paths, so that the user can see the sequence of steps laid out.
How to Make It
Use a vector image editor, like Adobe Illustrator or Omnigraffle, to lay out a map.
There are also Business Process Modelling tools that allow you to lay out a map of events, tasks, and connectors onto a canvas.