I have been waiting for a lite version of Visio since version 3, Before that there was a demo version, so people could give Visio a try. Actually, the reason I have been hooked on Visio since Visio 1 and have been volunteering in the Visio community for the past three decades was that demo.
I have been creating business diagrams since my mainframe days. I had card decks that described the business process and COBOL programs that would convert that data into a diagram for a plotter or a line printer. When PCs came out, I converted the routines to a Basic program that used the plotting features of a HP laser printer. One day I received a 3.5 inch floppy from Microsoft that was supposed to test my system for compatibility with Windows 3.1. To fill up the floppy they included a Tetris like game and something called Visio.
I played with the demo and got hooked. It could do things I wished my programs could do. At the time Visio had an online presence on CompuServe in the Microsoft Vendor D forum. So, I went there to ask questions.
Because of the nature of CompuServe, you posted questions that could be seen by others and it may take time to get an official answer, unlike CompuServe’s 24×7 availability , the Visio team were only available business hours M-F PST, I started to answer some of those questions. Some of my answers were just requests for clarifications. When Visio opened their own CompuServre forum, they asked the top answers to be moderators. I have been supporting the Visio community ever since. One of the other moderators joined Visio and another is a long term MVP in the PowerPoint community. My passion for Visio goes beyond the product, I have great admiration for the team that created Visio, who I have had the pleasure to meet in person over the years.
So, why was Visio only part of the Office family, in name only? Why was there not a version of Office that included a flavour of Visio?
The reason that Visio was not a real part of Office was because Visio made money.
There should have been a Visio Lite as part of a version of Office early on. Now the Visio team has to play catch up. All the Visio wannabees now have a good foothold. They are not as good as Visio, but they have been able to erode Visio market share, based on price. Some of the wannabees are okay, but I have not seen one as robust as Visio.
For most, Visio is over kill, there was a need for a lite version of Visio. Most Visio users only use a small fraction of Visio capabilities and there are Visio “experts” who are unaware of the shapesheet. So, a Lite version of Visio in one of the Office packages would have been welcome a long time ago. There is a niche for the Visio wannabees, but Visio does need to protect their market share.
The Visio team needs to push Visio lite AND show the benefits of the full version.
I hope this helps.
John… Visio MVP in x-aisle