As a “creative” (surely we could have come up with a better name guys?) I love a good mindmap. Almost every project I undertake is accompanied by a flurry of scribbles on my whiteboard at home – compounded by further doodles on paper, arrows pointing to important words and eventually some actual work. But I can’t take my big-ass whiteboard with me (I’m in the middle of the South African Wilderness typing this), can’t share my ravings with co-workers and can’t always read things I’ve written in a fit of excitement at 3 am.
Naturally there are people hard at work in the software world building apps to help my take my dubious doodles on the go with me and one such company are MindJet, who have MindManager mind-mapping software – with version 8 out for the Mac and version 9 for the PC.
Using the mind mapping technique pioneered by Tony Buzan, users map their ideas and information in a web diagram, branching out from a central topic, to create related topics that eventually build into a ‘mind map’. Mind maps can contain all the information related to the project, from text documents, audio and video files, web links and connections to back-end databases, so that all project information is accessible immediately and not distributed over several siloed sources.
MindManager features information visualisations that let you easily lay out, organise and work with ideas in a variety of maps, outlines, charts. You can work closely with everyday programs such as Microsoft Office and there is an iPhone app so you can work on ideas on the go. I didn’t get a chance to test this as much as I’d like but you can make the app and the application play nicely together.
MindManager is pretty easy to use, which is massively important and getting technology between you and your ideas is counterproductive when it becomes fiddly. I’m working on a few longer projects and made a conscious effort to fire up MindManager every time to see how it progress. I was pleasantly surprise. Many, many similar apps have fallen by the wayside.
So, if you’ve graduated from pen and paper scrawls then give MindManager a whirl. There is a free 30-day trial.
MindManager 9 for Windows is $349 and MindManager 8 for the Mac is $249.