We recently reviewed three web-based mind-mapping tools. Now there’s another one available in public alpha release. If you’re a fan of mind mapping, you might want to make a few minutes to go kick the tires on Kayuda, an Ajax-powered tool that brings some interesting new twists to the genre. As befits its alpha status, there are still some rough edges and missing features, but it’s already showing promise.
Kayuda pulls together three major chunks of functionality in its quest for a distinct niche:
- Mind-mapping, with labeled nodes and labeled links between them.
- Real-time browser-based collaboration, allowing multiple people to edit the same diagram at the same time, with locking to handle multiple simultaneous edits.
- Rich text notes attached to every node.
The ability to add arbitrarily large amounts of text to each node means that you can use a Kayuda map as a sort of visual wiki (though it does not yet have the versioned-history features you’d expect of a history). The best thing here, though, is the simultaneous editing, which was quite smooth in my testing and worked well across Firefox and IE. As mind maps, they’re fairly light-weight: no formatting for nodes or links, no curved lines, no images (though file attachments are planned for a future version).
Also missing are any hint of keyboard access, as well as import/export and print features. If I had to pick a current niche for Kayuda, I’d see it as a quick group brainstorming tool to use along with a conference call or group chat meeting. From the company’s forums, the development team is fired up to make the tool more useful (and to find a viable economic model), so I’ll be interested to see what they do in beta and beyond.