I don’t believe I am the first to use Action charts, but if you have ever struggled to use charts, you might want to try my system. Like a lot of things, I developed it to accommodate my own brain. It turns out that many people who do not like charts just have the same difficulty working the wrong side from a standard chart.
Most of my stitch pattern text can be applied directly (or with minor edits) into Stitch Maps, so you can do that if you need to see what the pattern looks like from the right side. I generally put a standard (I call them Appearance) chart into a pattern if it is important to see how the pattern looks on the right side.
What is an action chart?
An Action chart is a What You See Is What You Do (WYSIWYD) chart.
Why use one?
If you have ever been confused by what stitch you are supposed to execute on the wrong side, this might be a charting system that works for you. Additionally, I use blocks with instruction when there are more than three of the same stitch consecutively so you don’t have to count boxes.
How to read an action chart?
The charts do not show what the right side of the knitting looks like when working flat, just what action you should take. The right side is always being worked when working in the round. (Note the way Seed and Stockinette differ in the round and flat.)
Whenever there are 3 or more of the same type of stitch in a row I use the colored, labeled boxes and specify how many stitches to work (k3, p3, etc.). This is to make it quick and easy to take in the information.
In my Action chart system, I also make sure that all stitches are stacked in the chart as they are in your knitting. Often stitch patterns are written to use the fewest characters; I write them to be stacked and easy to follow.
Pattern Specific Variations
Sometimes, I include technique variations that are for specific patterns. I always include directions for specific techniques in the pattern itself, so be sure to also read any patterns you’re working on closely.
No Stitch for Action Charts: Seed Bath Set Trio
Unworked Stitch in Action Charts: German short rows
I use this to help visualize that only a portion of the stitches are worked on a particular row.
For more about how to read knitting patterns, see Knitting Repeat Language, Using Written Pattern Table Instructions, Gauge, At The Same Time, Measuring / Measure, and Pattern as Established.
For more about patterns in general, see Yarn Consumption Calculator, Action Chart, Yarn Remainder Finder, Grading: Making One Size, Creating Many.