Mapping the Information Work Online Experiment
13 April 2008 8 Comments
In common with many people I reach for a mind map to assemble concepts and components into a cohesive structure. For InfoWOE this must be online despite my being a keen MindManager user for several years, at significant personal expense. A quick web search for free online mindmappers yielded mind42.com where I commenced the mapping process for the InfoWOE project and adding notes on some of the map nodes. The mind42 mind map will change over time as will most links to mind maps in this post.
Mind42 is easy to use but I soon struck the need to insert new nodes and move them about in the map structure. The beta documentation did not help. I eventually emailed the dev team and received a quick reply explaining the undocumented move feature. By then I was looking for more features and had discovered an online mind mapping comparison post by Tiffany Brown. This revealed two more online mappers with free plans, MindMeister and Mindomo. As is typical the free plans mean one or more of the presence of advertising, fewer maps and fewer features.
This discovery led to further investigations into the export and import features of the online mappers. Still in beta mind42 exports in Freemind, MindManager, RTF and its own format. MindMeister and Mindomo can import in their free versions Freemind, MindManager and RTF formats; only the paid versions can export in Freemind and MindManager formats.
Transferring the InfoWOE map from mind42 to MindMeister and Mindomo in Freemind format proved problematical and the node notes are not transferred. Bearing in mind I wanted to stay with free versions I found that RTF was a good transfer format that retains the note content. I use Word to create a .doc or .docx version of the RTF map file, import it into MindManager. Once in MindManager format the map can be imported into the free versions of MindMeister and Mindomo.
Mindomo is Flash-based and has the most features and simulates the Microsoft ribbon interface. For use on the Eee PC the Google ads sidebar on the right takes up too much of the screen and the ribbon interface consumes over 25% of the remaining area. Mindomo is good for laptops with screen resolution of 1024×768 and above.
At this stage I have settled on the free version of MindMeister for the InfoWOE map: