Sunday, March 14, 2010

MindMeister Revisited

The more I use the web, the more I am moving my documents to the cloud and relying on these services to host my files. Being able to have access to my files from anywhere that I am connected to the web is invaluable to me. More importantly, having the ability to work collaboratively with my colleagues and partners is equally important and a key feature that is generally built into the hosted online software applications. I have used MindMeisiter for several years now and really enjoy its host of features that allow me the flexibility to do my mind mapping quickly in the cloud.

MindMeister works quickly in the cloud and is very easy and straightforward to use. It provides me with a way to add graphics, pictures and clip art into my maps to helps add to their visual appeal. MindMeister comes with a library of clip art but it is very easy to upload your own graphics to your map should you decide to go this route. Adding notes to an idea is easy to do with lots of formatting capabilities. Likewise, I can attach links, files and tasks to any branch in MindMeister. Being able to embed files makes MindMeister a great repository when I am working on projects and have related files that I want to database. Similarly, if I am working on a project with my partners it is easy to keep track of tasks and have MindMeister automatically email notifications when tasks are upcoming or overdue, from my mind maps. Notifications can be set up from within MindMeister to automatically email any collaborators that have tasks coming up or are overdue. It would be great if there was a way to export the Tasks and timelines into a project management software application. Or better yet MindMeister should consider having built in Gantt charting capability. You can always be hopeful!

Certainly the feature set that I really enjoy is being able to share my maps with others as I am working on projects and here is where MindMeister really shines. It is very easy to invite others to either "collaborate" or "view" my map which is done by sending an invite from within MindMeister. Since I am a blogger the one feature that really stands out for me is the ability to place a mind map on my blog. MindMesiter makes it very easy for me to publish my maps when I am done to my blog by providing me with the embed code. But more importantly I have a high degree of control as to what users who view my map can do. If I choose I can allow "copy and export," or give my viewers the opportunity to edit the map. In the same vein I can also password protect the map by adding a password into the equation. You can see an example of a mind map I created below by simply pasting in the embed code that was supplied by MindMeister. The mind map is fully interactive and you can expand and collapse branches and zoom in and out. Give it a try and let me know what you think. if you like there are also options for printing and exporting your maps in various formats. You can currently export your MindMesiter maps in the following formats: MindMeister, MindManager, FreeMind, PDF, JPG, and RTF.




 
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