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Summary:

I’ve been curious about mind mapping and how it might help me with my work. I did a search on Web Worker Daily for references to mind mapping solutions to see what my fellow bloggers have said in the past to help me vet out the […]

I’ve been curious about mind mapping and how it might help me with my work. I did a search on Web Worker Daily for references to mind mapping solutions to see what my fellow bloggers have said in the past to help me vet out the best software or site for my needs. That’s where I saw some mentions about bubbl.us, a Web-based “brainstorming” application.

Before I proceeded testing out an application, I wanted to have a better understanding of what mind mapping was all about so I went to Wikipedia for a definition:

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

The more I read, the more I was excited to try mind mapping in some form because I certainly could use some help with organization, problem solving and decision making in my Web working business.

What I immediately liked about bubbl.us is that the moment I arrived at the site, all I had to do was click a big button that said “Start Brainstorming,” and I was presented with my first bubble ready for me to fill it in.

By hovering my cursor over the bubble, I was given pop up descriptions of each feature such as: click and drag to move the bubble, create a sibling bubble under same parent, create a new child bubble, select bubble color, even connect two bubbles with a directional line. For someone who gets hives from reading the manual, these bite-sized instructions available to me at any time as I built my map was like ambrosia.

The first map I made was for my company, Moonbow Productions, Inc. I wanted to get a sense of what services I offer to clients. This map took less than 10 minutes to produce.

Company map - bubbl.us

The next map I made was to get a grip on the many “irons in the fire” or projects I have in progress. This map took me 20 minutes to produce.

Projects map - bubbl.us

The last map I made was a list of services I offer with the corresponding clients who are utilizing the various services. This map took me 10 minutes to produce.

Services/Clients map - bubbl.us

In less than 40 minutes, I had three different ways of visualizing the work I do on a daily basis and a much clearer perspective of where I spend my time.

As usual, I’m only scratching the surface of the features of yet another Web app, but with this tiny scratch, I’ve really taken care of a big mind itch.

How Mind Mapping Can Help Web Work

Here are some of the ways might think of using mind mapping:

1. Visualize how your work is distributed. Where are the profit centers, and are you focusing most of your time and energy on those?

2. Identify loss leaders. Where are you spending time during your work day that isn’t having a direct impact on your bottom line?

3. Organize tasks. How can you group tasks together to be more efficient with the work you do each day?

4. Plan for expansion. If you are looking to grow your business, what areas should you augment? What areas could you pare down because they aren’t really paying the bills to make room for new things?

5. Diversify. Are you concentrating too much on a single area of Web work? What if that work dries up? What other areas can you branch into in order to have other options

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of mind mapping, you might want to take a look at “The Mind Mapping Manifesto” by Chuck Frey or go to his blog The Mind Mapping Software Blog. Although his material seems very “salesy” at first, you can find some gems tucked in between the hard sales pitches.

“You’re a victim of ‘information overload,'” says Frey. “To survive, you need to sift through a mountain of information, ideas and knowledge, synthesize meaning from it and communicate it in reports, plans and other business reports.”

Don’t we all!

Are you mind mapping and if so, how are you doing it and what has it done for you?

By Aliza Sherman

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  1. I’m using Mind42 and it’s the best one I’ve seen yet. Keyboard friendly, and includes the ability to add images, notes, links, and much more. I’ve only been playing with it for awhile, but I big use I’ve seen it for (especially for web designers) is arranging your websites architecture. Helps get everything out on the table, and examine what changes need to be made. Also, Mind42 includes skype and google talk integration.

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  2. Mind42, eh? I’ll check it out!

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  3. I use freemind, a free open source mind mapping tool. I’ve been using this for the past 1 year and I really like it. Once you get used to the mind mapping methodology, you’ll never do any project without a mind map.

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  4. With Freemind i can brainstorm THEN export a version to Ganttproject to add timings and manage THEN export an outline to OpenOffice to flesh out.

    Voila – A full detailed proposal with graphic and gantt in 30 minutes. Wins a lot of work………………

    DK

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  5. Bubbl.us was one of the very first web-based mind mapping tools to be launched, but has lagged behind its competitors since then. The most highly developed web-based mapping tools are generally regarded to be MindMeister and Mindomo, which have features and functionality very similar to desktop mapping programs, followed closely by Comapping and Mind42. These tools have come a long way in less than 2 years, and are now approaching the capabilities of desktop-based mapping software.

    One of the biggest benefits of using a web-based mind mapping tool is that, with some applications, you can share maps and collaborate more easily than you can in the desktop environment. According to a survey I did on these web-based apps last year, users rated collaboration as the number one benefit of them. Web-based map apps are also less expensive to use than desktop software (most have inexpensive subscription plans). Also, you don’t need your company IT department’s permission to use them!

    On the downside, they may not appeal to “power users,” because they don’t have 100% of the features of desktop mind mapping software, nor do they handle large, complex maps as well as their desktop counterparts.

    I’m now working on an up-to-date comparison chart of the major web-based mind mapping tools, which I hope to post to my blog in the next week or so. So watch The Mind Mapping Software Blog for more details.

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  6. great article!

    just recently i have been working with a new startup called Spinscape – http://www.spinscape.com – they were at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Fran this past April 2008.

    Email me if you need an INVITE as currently it is in closed beta and only can be accessed via an invite.

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  7. [...] A few months ago, Rick brought up the topic of work collaboration through “mind mapping” using the web tool MindMeister. If the concept of mind mapping is still a bit daunting, check out the simple and stripped-down app called bubbl.us that the folks at Web Worker Daily were just playing around with. [...]

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  8. Here’s a round up of different tools – its old now
    http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2005/07/can_technology_.html

    You’ll enhance the use of your tools with an understanding of the visual thinking methods.

    Some people to read:

    Tony Buzan – The mind Map book
    David Hyerle – Visual Tools (not software)

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  9. [...] a nifty interface (Mike G. reviewed it) and Spinscape, a site I learned about through a comment on my previous posts about mind mapping. After a flurry of emails to get past the closed beta gates, I was in and mapping away in no [...]

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  10. PMM Personal Memory Manager also has a new version, plus a philosophy to validate where the ideas and implementation came from. http://www.pmm.nl

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