Tuesday, 10 March 2009

MindMeister and Me

So, MindMeister. Part of me (the 'make things look pretty' part) just loves this! Several of my students are mind map users already, and habitually plan their work this way. One even gave a presentation handout as a mind map this term (with key connections in different colour felt tips!), and it could have been very useful if she had been able to provide the seminar group with this electronically and invite us to make our own contributions to it. And she might have spend less time with the felt tips, although a bit of creativity in the good old-fashioned ink-all-over-your-hands way seems just as desirable as online work to me. MindMeister is a bit clunky to use, but presumably the people behind it will be working to make it better if they want the rest of us to find it indispensible. I don't really see it as an end in itself, but I can imagine making a place for it in my life - even if it is only that small space in the corner under the plant stand.


  1. While I like mind maps, I find doing them on the computer takes some of the spontaneity out of them. You can't easily put squiggles and other symbols in as you could do in handwriting. And the screen is too small! And navigation too difficult.

    But for presentational issues it's different. Kind of like typing up a hand-written essay.

  2. Thanks for the nice writeup! (I'm from MindMeister) Can I ask which parts of the UI you felt clunky, or what exactly you mean by clunky? Of course we want to make it better ...

  3. Hi Michael, thanks for looking in! We use Mindmeister on our Web 2.0 course and it's generally gone down very well, although some do feel it's not especially intuitive - I'd agree that there is a small learning curve with it. Perhaps you could just have a small 'commoncraft' style video to show how to use the main features (perhaps it already exists!).

    Personally, I think it's great, with lots of potential for learning and for professional life - indeed I've used it as the basis of a conference presentation.

  4. Hi Michael, sorry it's taken a while to get back to you! By clunky, I meant the following:

    a) it would be really useful to be able to see the whole thing shrunk down at the click of a button, and then to be able to move around it and focus in again from there - heaving the whole map from side to side is frustrating; all my team who used it (we did a presentation together) expressed this same frustration
    b) adding branches is not as intuitive as it might be; we found ourselves putting ones on by mistake at times (and we're a relatively experienced set of people, if not terribly tech-y)
    c) we could do with more symbols!
    d) when invited to look at a map I was working on with others through an email message, I couldn't start editing that map straight away, even if signed into Mindmeister; I could only look at it. I'd have to close it again and then open it as one of my own maps. Which is not a big problem, but a bit fiddly.

    So those are some of the issues. Generally, though, as I said in my blog, I did enjoy it and I can see a lot of potential for it.