I started playing with Mind Map software years ago but really thought nothing of it until we started using them to outline projects.
I played around with mind mapping software a few years ago as a brainstorming tool for an internal project. It proved to be such a great reference asset that we added it to our arsenal of tools when working with our clients websites.
If you haven’t used Mind Mapping software before, it basically is a node based visual schematic builder. Mind Maps allow users to quickly and easily put together a tree based node structure. You can show a hierarchy of Ideas, Objects, Options, Processes and just about anything else you can think of. Nodes can be titled, color coded, and referenced. Most Mind Map software allows you to expand and contract different child node trees with their parents and branching nodes.
When brainstorming for one of my own projects I used it for a broad range of concepts. This way I could give a full presentation on the scope of the work and all it’s parts. This tool is helpful when trying to communicate the website structure and functionality. Sometimes side project would go cold after getting swamped with work. A clean mind map made easy to reference again and jump back on it later that year. I can’t tell you how much time it saved us when everyone had to switch gears and try to get on the same page again.
Another great tool for project presentations and outlines
Today we continue to use mind mapping software for our web design clients. It continues to be a helpful tool for putting project outlines together. You can easily reference them on a big screen, Ipad or desktop. They are great for a highly productive presentation or project review. Mind Maps can be edited very easily in real-time, so nodes can be modified quickly. Entire node trees are moved and relocated just by dragging a parent node on another parent node.
There are many different Mind Map plugins and extensions available. Most of them follow the .mm extension so you can open them between platforms. I really like myMindMap, available in the Apple app store for the Ipad. It is extremely interactive and has many features to play with. There are a few free versions on web Google (Mindmap Software) to learn more.
Mind Maps can get used for just about anything. If you have not added mind maps to your library of useful tools yet, I suggest trying them out.