Mindmapping… collaboration, mobile, presentation and more

Business Analyist, User Experience, Front-End Architecture Practice MindMap

I looked at my design work from my college days and noticed a serious amounts of Mindmaps. The mindmaps are not as big or as connected as I tend to make them now but I have been mindmapping for decades. For a short while I use to use Outlining tools which can be pretty straight forward but lacks the dimension.

Mindmapping seems synonymous with dyslexic. Maybe something to do with  the leaps of topic?

As I’m a open source and collaborative kind of guy, I looked into something which I can run in Ubuntu and run across over multiple platforms. Collaboration is a nicety which I wanted but thought might not be possible.

Well I found something. Its called Mindmup.

I was using Freemind which is open source and runs every platform and seems to become the defacto open standard for mindmaps. Mindmup is also open source supports import and export freemind *.mm files without any noticeable differences . It also supports similar keyboard mappings and runs completely in a modern browser. It seems to support CSS and SVG too.

The killer features for me is the collaboration. The ability to share and have people add to your mindmap seems to be a killer feature. Because all you need is a browser. I haven’t really used this feature much but I find a few times when it would be so very handy! Collaboration! FTW!

I’m also loving the idea of using mindmaps for project management! You can save locally, Github, Dropbox, Google Drive and even to their own proprietary storage server.

I also spotted something which I have always wanted to see. A prezi killer? Rather than creating a mindmap for the sake of a presentation, imagine if you could just step through parts in a narrative form? Well I have yet to test it but look out soon, I may do it and see how people react.

My only issue is having to use another tool to create mindmaps on my Nexus 7 tablet.  I’m using SimpleMind mindmapping which has its own desktop apps but can generate freemind files easily and also can save direct to google drive. The main reason I bought it is because its quick and easy to create maps. Which was very handy in TedXLiverpool last week. The web version isn’t quite fast enough to keep up with my thoughts unfortunately.

Ok I lied, I have another issue. Evernote doesn’t really understand Mindmaps. Yes I can import them via PDF or something else but it doesn’t natively understand them. Ideally I would find something to store all my mindmaps but would understand them enough to link them together. I know Hyperlinking maps is possible but only within certain applications and it tends to be proprietary.

I’m already imagining something like a XML DB or RDF store to hold mindmaps. Kind of reminds me of TopicMaps which seemed to die. Sure they had a way of holding them in a more native way?

Regardless… the main point is.. I certainly felt like this before.

I have loads of ideas — they’re like a bowl of tangled spaghetti in my head. But, as with many dyslexics, I have a real problem accessing those strands in an organised way. The many benefits of mind-mapping are well documented as being invaluable to both dyslexics and non-dyslexics…

A mindmapping standard?

I am having a hard time finding mindmapping apps which support a number of thing.

My idea was to install Freemind/Freeplane and then find a way to edit the mindmaps from Freemind on my Samsung Tab 7+ but can i find anything which supports it? Nope! So I considered the fact freemind might not be the ideal format and maybe I could import and export into freemind for editing on my Ubuntu laptop.

There seems to be no solid universal mindmap format which most mindmapping apps can read and write. It also seems export and import is very hit and miss.

The problem seems to be each one wants to innovate on top of a moving base in a different way and lock their users into using that application. A couple have apps across different platforms. Of course those platforms don’t include Linux making them almost pointless for myself.

What do people use and how do they get around the problem of converting back and forth? It seems crazy that this stuff isn’t described in XML or RDF with SVG for strokes?

Someone tell me something which works on Ubuntu and Android? Please!