When I started doing research I wanted a computer program to develop ideas and projects. I also wanted something that would reduce the energy and time needed to translate the ideas in my head into a form which other people could understand. After searching the net I found MyMind, by Sebastian Krauß. It’s for the Mac, only for the Mac, and it’s Donation Supported. It’s simple, fast, and one of the essential tools I use in developing projects.
The concept of mind mapping is simple: create an interconnected visual representation of your ideas. It’s like combining a text outline and a sketch. The essential element is that you can visually see how different ideas connect together. There’s limitless applications for the mind-mapping technique in every work place and profession.
I start my mindmaps by drawing a map on paper, putting all my ideas down and connecting them. The problem is that words on paper can’t be moved around. That’s where Computer Aided Creativity (CAC) becomes essential. So next I transfer my collection of ideas to MyMind, and start moving things around. In MyMind you list topics in an outline form in one window, and then create a map in a separate window. You can modify the list or the map, collapsing or expanding different parts of the map and add notes.
The mindmap can be color-coded, font size and thickness of the line connectors can decrease per level and images can be imported. Basically, there’s a lot of customization that one can perform to improve the organization of the mindmap. I like to use two monitors with MyMind, this gives me the room to develop the organization of ideas and watch project plans evolve. This allows me to develop a clear representation of a project, research article, dissertation, webpage design, book content, photo project, anything that I need.
There are other professional mind-mapping products such as ConceptDraw, which is for the PC or Mac. I might switch to ConceptDraw in the future, as this software family also includes variations for project management and web design in addition to basic mind-mapping. A lot of software is hyped and over-priced, but packages like MyMind and ConceptDraw are no doubt worth every penny and could revolutionize the way you work – both professionally and in your personal projects.
There are amazing possibilities using a touch screen and mind mapping for real hands-on CAC. Some day I’d like to see a program on a tablet laptop which allows the user to create and modify a mindmap in real time. This would be a very useful combination of computer aided creativity, technology which really works for the user. Even better would be the fusion between a mind mapper and word processor. The writing program Ulysses is going in the right direction.