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The race for Web 2.0 mind mapping—no winner, yet

September 6, 2009

Those of you that have worked with me know I’m a die hard mind mapper—a mind map evangelist you might say.  For the past 6 years I’ve exclusively used MindJet MindManager in Windows XP.  Having moved to a Mac and because of my attempt at frugality, I no longer have MindManager at my fingertips.  Yesterday I went shopping for mind mapping tools and was pleased to see some good competition in this space.  After quick reviews of the top delicious bookmarks tagged with mind mapping tools, I narrowed it down to MindMeister and Mindomo.

MindMeister and Mindomo attracted me because:

  1. SaaS model: no software to install, available anywhere at anytime, platform independent, easy collaboration, continual improvement
  2. Low-cost entry: Free basic service and additional features for a small monthly fee
  3. MindManager friendly: maps can be imported and exported to/from MindManager

Each of these three tools has some work to do to get to the finish line, in my opinion.  Here are the key features I think each needs to add:

  • MindManager
    • Offer a free SaaS version: there are always people that will only start using a free version, especially given the other free choices available.  Get MindManager Web into their workflow and they will likely upgrade to the $120/yr version after realizing it’s superior to the others.
  • MindMeister
    • Allow orphan topics: sure, mind-mapping is all about relationships.  When populating a map for the first time sometimes it makes sense to do a mind dump that doesn’t require everything to be immediately related to the main topic.  It also helps for creating a separate topic for a legend, for example.  The lack of this feature alone turned me away.
  • Mindomo
    • Auto-save: every change made to the map must be saved on the server immediately.  With services like Google Docs, it’s what customers expect today.  This also prevents inadvertent loss of data if the browser crashes, which happened to me twice while using it yesterday.

These are just the top features I personally think each vendor needs to work on; this is not expected to be a comprehensive evaluation of mind mapping tools.

What’s your favorite mind mapping software?  Does it offer the features I describe above?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2009 11:54 am

    My vot is for MindMeister. MindMeister also has an application for iPhone or iPod touch that gives you native access to your mind maps.

  2. September 7, 2009 12:33 pm

    I have been following the mind mapping space for some time now and every week some new Web 2.0 services are featuring mind mapping applications. In addition to MindMiester and Mindomo you should take a look at CoMapping, as well as DropMind. Both offer software as a service as well as a desktop application. Let me know what you think.

    Regards
    Brian S Friedlander
    AssistiveTek Blog
    http://assistivetek.blogspot.com

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