Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Mind Mapping - web service on demand?

I've not written about one of my favourite techniques (and software which is Mindjet's Mind Manager Pro v6) in a long time. Increasingly my handwritten notes are multicoloured spidery diagrams that mean something to me but very little to anyone else. However, the phenomenon of what we call 'mind mapping tools' (which Tony Buzan would most likely say are not mind mapping in the true sense but simply computerised information organising tools) has thus far really remained the domain of desktop software publishers such as Mindjet, MindGenius, et al.

Enter on the scene a new boy in town, 'Mindomo' (currently in beta). A flash-based web service which requires NO installation whatsoever (unless you don't already have flash in which case the applet would be the minimum install and that hardly counts), I can see that there is a market for it. You can set up an account for free and all data is stored on their servers. If you wish, there are pay-for-the-service options with added features. After a quick play with it, I'd say it is fine for those who wish to create the occasional mind map, but for those using it every day for project work, etc. I still prefer a desktop based version. It does include a feature to import mindmaps from Mindjet's Mind Manager, but this is limited to content rather than format, e.g. I lost coloured lines, pictures, and map markers. Small maps imported were very quick, but my larger project related maps just went on for what felt like forever so I gave up.

In conclusion, for those new to computerised mind mapping tools, it's a great no-hassle way to try it out. I, however, still recommend that you go and download the 30 day trial from Mindjet due to the extra functionality it gives you.

P.S. Thanks to Nick Duffill of Beyond Crayons for bringing this to my attention.


Anonymous said...

Traditional mind maps are good for blue-sky thinking, but I like to use a mind map as a frame on which I store information. This soon runs wild as the references and working documents build up. I'm using Topicscape now, when a project gets to that stage ( Have you looked at it? I like that it can take a text file exported by MindManager and turn it into a topicscape for me, though it would be cool if it could work straight from the MindManager file.

The ITIL Imp said...

Hi there,

Thanks for posting and bringing Topicscape to my attention. I've heard a bit about 3d maps (as well as search engines using the same technique) but I've not actually tried one myself.

In terms of traditional mind maps I find that they are great for brain storing and memorising information.

In terms of the computerised 'mind maps' I personally find that Mind Manager suits my needs for managing information storage, documents, links, etc. I make great use of the feature to send topics to a new map and generally have a dashboard for a project with links off to relevant material. It works well for me so I've personally no need to look for another tool.

Having said that, I will try the topicscape demo, but I have a feeling the 3d maybe a bit much for me, we'll see :)

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