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Mindmapping with


Both Craig and Dan were kind enough to send me links to a Flash-based mindmapping tool online. It’s pretty! Unfortunately, like most web apps, it doesn’t quite move as quickly as a desktop app. Maybe it’s my old laptop (last of the G4’s!), but the movement through the app impedes me using it. Now, I’m used to MindJet’s MindManager, so maybe I’m spoiled.

Also, with mind mapping tools, I’ve found that there’s a steep key learning curve between each app. Keyboard lock-in! For example, in hitting Enter creates a child, while in MindManager it creates a sibling. I forget what FreeMind does.

So, naturally, it takes some getting used to when you switch mind mapping tools. Mind mapping software usability, as the preceding implies, rests largely on how well the key-boarding works: which keys you choose for what (create a child, create a sibling, create a parent, edit the text, etc.) and how fast those keys respond.

The other thing missing from is an export. The only way I could find to export my map was to print and then use OS X’s native print to PDF. As a side-note, I can’t tell how many times that pattern is a crutch for “exporting” content.

Now, that’s all overly harsh. In my mind, what I’m seeing is a great start at becoming a platform for For example, when I heard about it, the first thing I was hoping for was the ability to import MindManager maps and share them on the web. Now, that’d be fantastic! I’m always angling for platforms for this reason: I’ve got all the data, I just need platforms on the public web to link and expose and allow others to view and link to it. Of course, collaborating around it, as Dan pointed out in the case of mind maps, would be super-duper.

Realtime, multi-user mind maps. Now that’d be awesome.

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Categories: The Analyst Life.

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8 Responses

  1. I like that you don’t need to sign up to give it a try. That’s usually a pretty big barrier to entry for me.

    It’d be nice if it supported graph structures too. I tend to think in sets, as opposed to hierarchies.

  2. Indeed, I neglected to mention that immediate use. That was damn impressive and nice to see.

  3. I have tried Mind Manager and FreeMind, but eventually went with NovaMind as it is the best Mind Mapping application out there, produces the nicest looking Mind Maps, is easy to use, has excellent support, and is much less expensive than Mind Manager. Mac and Windoze. Well worth checking out.

  4. i’m a huge fan of Freemind because it’s cross-platform and i find it reasonably intuitive. i can edit a map on my mac or an office windoze machine with ease. because of that, i now carry a USB-stick with my maps and the app itself so i can work with them at will.


  5. I agree with Joe – NovaMind is the way to go. There are a few enhancements I’d like to see, but what they already have is excellent, and their speed of development is pretty impressive.

  6. I recently came across, and i can tell you that it has a great potential. I think you really should check it out.

  7. Thanks, Larson. I’ll try to check it out.

  8. There are some online mind mapping tools that support collaboration.

    # Comapping ( takes mindmapping one step further, allowing simultaneous use by multiple users.
    # Kayuda ( is a mindmapping-plus app, good for developing "campaigns". Maps are shareable and serve as navigation. Add text and details to each node.
    # Mind42 is another collaborative mindmapping application that is a bit closer to its desktop cousins, and throws in web sticky notes as well.
    # Mindomo ( might make you forget it's a webware app in terms of interface and mindmapping functionality. It has non-real time collaborative features.
    # Mindmeister ( offers non-real time collaboration and many of the import/ export features of Mindomo. The interface lies between and Mindomo in feature quantity.