I’m a big fan of mind mapping. For years I used MindJet’s MindManager application, but I’ve since migrated to the cloud based MindMeister. MindMeister is not as robust as MindManager, but it allows for collaborative brainstorming without client-side software. Over the last year or so, MindMeister has grown in capabilities, including offline mind mapping (through Google Gears), but lacked one critical element of useful mind mapping, cross connections. The latest release now incorporates that critical function, in addition to other features:
MindMeister News – Mind Mapping on Steroids
You can now add graphical cross-connection between your ideas in your mind maps, which will be displayed as green arrows. This feature is still beta, so please be kind. We’ll add more functionality here in future, such as control points and formatting.
MindManager is still more robust than MindMeister, but the later is quickly catching up. Mindjet has also begun to offer an online solution, but I haven’t had the time to review it. Quite frankly, MindMeister does the job for me.
I’m not sure what it is with the Europeans, but they seem to be obsessed with Mind Mapping. I just wrote about MindMeister, an excellent online mind mapping tool that is in private beta at the moment (I’ve still got invites available if you’re interested). Along comes Mindomo to up the ante. Thanks to Nick Duffill, a principal at Gyronix – Mind Mapping and Productivity Consultants – to pointing this one out on his blog.
As Nick points out, this online application is simply stunning for it’s ‘desktop like’ interaction and flexibility. You have the ability to assign task information (due date, start date, task assignment, etc.), associated graphics (both default graphics, and importable ones), and change the layout of the map, just like MindManager.
Similar to nearly all online applications today, Mindomo’s abilities from a collaboration level also shine. Nick’s gone as far as to explain the Wiki-like qualities that collaboration may enable with Mindomo.
Mindomo can import MindManager files just like MindMeister, but just like MindMeister, some formatting features are lost. I’ve just started to play around with Mindomo, but can already tell that this is one heck of an online application.
There is a standard ‘free’ edition, and three other options. This one is definitely worth checking out.
Just a couple of days ago I wrote about a new online brainstorming tool called bubbl.us. That application seemed a little too simple and off the standard mind mapping approach to be of much use to many. A commenter left a note about an online mind mapping application that was closer to traditional tools, known as MindMeister. I signed up for access to the private beta, and was approved within a few minutes. The online tool is still in that private beta stage, but I can tell you that it looks spot on when compared to traditional mind mapping tools.
Mind maps generated inside MindMeister are easy to setup and manage. Maneuvering inside MindMeister is similar to FreeMind and MindManager, although keyboard shortcuts aren’t as intuitive (or similar) to either offline application. Dragging nodes around is identical to offline applications. In fact, it’s easy to forget that MindMeister is an online application. There is version control, allowing you to revert back in a fairly granular fashion.
Like nearly all online applications today, one of the core features of MindMeister is to enable collaboration on maps. A map can be shared in a true collaborative environment or as view only. Another powerful feature of MindMeister is the ability to import FreeMind or MindManager files. This feature alone makes MindMeister incredibly useful. In the private beta, text formating, icons, and fancy layouts of maps are lost during the import process, but all text nodes are retained. Exporting, at the moment, is not as evolved as the application only lets you export as a graphic file or as a bulleted text file in RTF format.
MindMeister is in early stage beta, so I’m sure there will be many improvements along the way. The developers are looking to offer a standard and premium version of the tool at some point, as the ‘my account’ page indicates. Most of the premium features of MindMesiter are available in this beta phase. Overall I’ve been very impressed with the way it handles and feels, and can’t wait to see this application evolve into a full blown mind mapping tool.