Thursday, December 3, 2009

Seavus Dropmind™ 1.1 is Released

I recently received an email from Seavus that they updated DropMind and decided to take it for a test drive on my PC to learn about its features and ease of use. DropMind is an easy to use mind mapping application that includes a host of features that one would expect to find in a mind mapping application.

DropMind 1.1 uses the standard convention of allowing you to use the Enter and Insert key to add branches to your mind map. DropMind uses the familiar Fluid Ribbon Interface and has divided the features into Home, Insert, Format, View and Presentation. When starting a new map there are a number of various Templates to choose from to get the process rolling. At this point in time the Templates are all traditional mind mapping structures which have a Central idea and supporting ideas going around the the main point from the one o'clock position. I would have liked to be able to start with Top- down or Left to Right maps when using DropMind and hope to see this in a future release. Once you select a template you will feel right at home using DropMind, you can easily add topics and subtopics from the toolbar or use the keyboard to accomplish this without breaking your concentration. You can easily change the shape of your topics and subtopics and number them if you wish. Formatting your mind map is a cinch in DropMind and you have lots of different options for colors, backgrounds and for including icons and images in your mind map. DropMind supports inserting relationship lines as well as boundaries and in the current release you can now use Summary Arcs and Elbows. DropMind gives you lots of control as to how images and text are formatted within a topic and bringing in your own images is straightforward.

In this latest version, DropMind1.1 now includes a Task Information pane that lets you enter Start Dates, Resources, Duration of Task, Priority, Percent Complete that is displayed within the mind map. You can also insert Alerts into your mind map and DropMind will alert you at the prescribed time-which I thought was a handy feature. One of the handiest feature which was included in this update is Map Parts. With the advent of Map Parts you can now store previously developed portions of your mind maps and use them as the the building blocks for your maps. This should allow you to develop you mind maps that much more quickly and make sections of your maps reuseable. Nice touch! Users of DropMind can add URLs, File Attachments, and Notes to any idea in their mind map. DropMind comes with s small library of icons and images that can be used within the application. I would have like to see a larger collection of images ship with DropMind. Having said that it is easy to resize and align images to the text in a topic as you see fit. To quickly format your map you can use the Map Styles which will automatically change the topic styles, color and background of your map. With the Map Color feature you can quickly change the color of your entire mind map with a click of a mouse. DropMind 1.1 now includes a Filter function that lets you quickly show or hide topics in your mind map that has any of the following features: Notes, Attachments, Tasks, Hyperlinks, Icons, and Alerts. While this is a good first step, DropMind should allow you to filter on text in your topic and allow you to save your searches for future use. DropMind 1.1 also includes a Presentation feature that automatically takes snapshots of your mind map which can be then viewed as a slide show presentation. While you can manually take snapshots of your mind map and put together a presentation, I would have liked to be able to have more control over the the presentation and more formatting features. DropMind 1.1 also includes a number of different formats for exporting your minds which include: PDF, XML, FreeMind, PowerPoint, RTF, Word, HTML, and Image. If you are using other mind mapping software applications you can directly import your mind maps from the following applications: MindManager, XMind, FreeMind, and Word Outlines.

Overall, DropMind is an easy to use mind mapping application that has all of the bases covered for those that enjoy mind mapping. With the release of DropMind 1.1, Seavus has added a number of features that should add to your productivity. However, they need to think about adding an Export to Microsoft Project- considering that they added Task Information to this release. Likewise, there should be more mind mapping templates with different structures built-in. I believe the real strength and value proposition for DropMind is the integration and synchronization of your mind maps with the web version of DropMind. One can easily start your mind maps with the desktop version of DropMind and then synchronize it and upload it to with the web version. Once your mind map is uploaded to the server you can open it and use it on the web with a browser and have access to it from anywhere you have access to the Internet and a browser. For more information about DropMind you can go to their website.

One Sentence Summary Created with Context Organizer I believe the real strength and value proposition for DropMind is the integration and synchronization of your mind maps with the web version of DropMind.

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