Are you familiar with the technique of mind mapping? If you are not, allow us to enlighten you. The technique of mind mapping has been around for centuries really but the methods and processes involved have been fairly different. The latest to advocate and contribute to the concept of mind mapping was Tony Buzan who was a psychology author from the 70s. He was the one who explained that jotting down ideas in a branch-like fashion is much more conducive. We assume he was comparing to the usual form of skimming through something and taking rough notes and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
How to do it you ask? Well, you start off with a central idea or an image in your head. Think of it as a title. Once you are down with that, you can start branching out ideas relating to the central idea in a hierarchical, flowing fashion. It is simple really. If you are a designer, mind mapping would help you grasp the bigger picture. You can visualize everything you have in your head. You can use color codes, pictures or other graphics in your branches to help your brain stimulate your thoughts in a practical manner. By now we are certain you have the idea. Well, today we are talking about the best 6 mind mapping tools available to designers.
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Stormboard has a sticky note sort of a format as is apparent by the name. This significantly comes in handy when you are collaborating online. You can vote, comment, organize, connect remotely via a mobile device and add priorities with this thing at your hand. It would also go as far as providing you summary reports instantaneously. You have the ability to add photos and videos to different branches and you have access to a loads of templates that you can customize and use. It is secured by SSL encrypting so your mind stays at ease. There is a free version to this software where 5 users, 1 admin can work on as many mind maps as you want. Apart from this, there are paid versions depending on your needs as well.
This has to be the beast when it comes to mind mapping. So much so that you paying a hefty $79 for this software makes total sense. But if you are not willing to go that far you would be pleased to know that it does come free as well. The free version includes everything a graphic designer would need. You have local network sharing options, templates, IME support, many different structures, matrix views, attachments, password protection, presentations and even audio notes. If you are done with your mind map or otherwise, you can share it. While sharing you can set the privacy to public or private etc.
This brings the ultimate fun to mind mapping. It is not dull and has a very exciting, organic and hand writing-ish feel to it. One thing to note is that it brings a lot of color to your screen. The desktop and mobile versions of Mapul are on their way but as of now, you can use it online your browser, which is great because you don’t have to go through downloading and installing. Just start working straightaway and that too for a very low cost of $2.50 a month. You can upload and use images in your maps and can export the final product as an image or local files. Moreover, you have full cloud support, you can share your maps via the internet, create unlimited maps, make presentations and add hyperlinks etc. If you are premium user, you can even email your mind maps. If you are not sure whether to pay that low amount every month, you can first try it for free as well.
The developers behind this particular tool claim that Coggle works more like people and thoughts and less like a computer. That is a big statement and to top it off, it is absolutely free. You can use it without paying a penny and downloading anything straight on the internet. Whatever you create can then be exported to PDF or even PNGs if you require. The application also supports collaborative work and you can easily keep track of changes made by anyone you are collaborating with. You also have the ability to drag and drop images and there is a history mode that would allow you to go back to previous versions in case you need. Let us know how you feel about it. This one is perhaps one of the easiest to use.
If you are looking for features, MindMeister will provide you with many of them. Here is a little preview. You have the ability to share your creation via e-mail or an online link, you can play back changes using the history view and export whatever you create to loads of different formats. You have the feature to collaborate with other users and all the changes made are stored on the servers forever. You can keep track of them or go back if you whenever you need. On top of all that, you can use this particular tool on mobile or tablets and it’s user-friendly. While many of the options mentioned above are not free, you can choose to go with pro or business versions. You still have a 30 day tryout period to see if you like it.
MindNode was featured on Apple as an App Store Best so you can get the idea of how incredibly amazing this software is. All you have to do is pay a one-time fee of $9.99 and you are set for a lifetime. The only problem with this one is that it only works on an iPhone, iPad or a Mac. But look at the bigger picture, you can start working on your map using Mac and then edit it anywhere using your iPhone or iPad; portability is what we are talking about here. You can sync your mind map with the dropbox or iCloud and you are set. A few of the great features include cross-connection of nodes from different mind maps, easy keyboard shortcuts, hyperlinks, show/hide branches etc.