Critique: How can I more clearly represent overlapping relationships in this chart

I have the following chart showing relationships between various items (I’ve removed all text except for placeholders on the relevant parts.enter image description here

I’m happy with this much, but the issue is the following section. Each box, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, needs to be connected to each box A, B, C, D, E, and F. In other words, Box 1 needs an arrow to Boxes A, B, C, D, E, and F. Box 2 also needs an arrow to Boxes A, B, C, D, E, and F. An so on, through to Box 6. So, if I were to draw them all, there would be 36 arrows in total.

Note that these arrows also have to pass through LOREM and IPSUM.

My first idea was this:

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So each box gets an arrow, but then they’re collapsed into one. However, I don’t feel this is very clear.

Second idea:

enter image description here

So now the horizontal line is thicker to represent that multiple arrows are “passing through” it, and six arrows will enter each box A through F (although only A is shown in the image).

However, I’m still not satisfied with this approach, and am open to all feedback/alternate approaches. All help is appreciated. Thanks!


Based upon zero information abut the actual process involved….

I would simplify a great deal. All that’s needed is a single arrow path.

enter image description here

This shows boxes 1-6 must go to LOREM, then IPSUM, then on to A B C D … The key being that IPSUM distributes to all boxes below it, so you don’t need to indicate that 6 boxes connected to LOREM, or IPSUM, before the distribution happens. And “pass through” is most commonly indicated by an arrow into the box/field, then a path out of the box/field. There’s no need for dotted paths translucent within the box/field.

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If the goal is to show that LOREM and IPSUM are mindless, automated processes.. then I’d use some other unique indicator for those 2 areas….

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(Personal preference would also be to replace all the curved arrow paths with straight, perpendicular, paths so that all the arrow/paths match. I find the curved arrow paths, really out of place. But again, personal preference.)

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Source : Link , Question Author : KevLoughrey , Answer Author : Scott

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