What Is a Spider Diagram?

A spider diagram is a visual way of organizing information in which concepts are laid out as two-dimensional branches from an overriding concept and supporting details are added to the individual branches. Spider diagrams get their name because the branches from the main concept resemble the legs of a spider.

Spider diagrams may be more or less elaborate, utilizing color, pictures and different typefaces to present different levels of information and their relative importance. Some spider diagrams contain many interconnecting branches, while others use extensive subheadings confined to four or fewer main branches.

Spider diagrams may be used as outlines for written compositions, as a way of organizing study notes for classes, or to brainstorm new ideas. Since the information on a spider map is displayed in a nonlinear way, finding pertinent details is faster than reading through the contents of a list.