Introducing Arrowbox: diagrams that fit in your head

Adel Nizamutdinov

Adel Nizamutdinov

Aug 9, 2021

It’s fascinating how complex human-built systems are and how small human head is. It’s hard to fit even a slightly non-trivial system in our heads.

This is why we build tools to handle the complexity.

If we want to fit the system in our head, however big that system might be. We'll have to layer it, introduce abstractions.

If we look at organizations as systems, the hierarchy is an example of layering. The CEO does not have to decide where a new hire will sit. Now we can navigate those layers and produce different representations of those systems: starting from a bird eye view, and zooming in, producing the most detailed view.


Traditional diagramming systems don’t really let you do that. What they let you do is create a view of the system targeted at a specific audience.

So if one team benefits from one perspective and another is interested in a different view of the same structure, we'll have to produce two diagrams, potentially duplicating many items.

Consider a frontend team view: front

And a backend team view: back

These are two different views of the same system (structure). Now when we change the system, we need to redraw both diagrams.


What we really want is different perspectives of the same structure. The goal is to fit it in your head and have as many team members on the same page (pun intended) to minimize integration problems.

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