Category Archives: mind mapping

A good explanation of why mind mapping works for writing projects

Dan Woods, CTO and editor of Evolved Technologist, recently wrote an article (link at bottom) on, and explained very well why mind mapping works for long writing projects, especially when you ?have to work on multiple projects at the same time.

Dan first stated two problems of the traditional, linear way:

  1. First, writing is a series of creative activities, it’s not a work that you start from the beginning?all along to the end, it’s rather a non-linear way like Dan explained:”We brainstorm, interview someone, or review a transcript and want to add a note to another part of the outline. We page up or down, find the right spot, and then add the note“,and the problem is that

    It doesn’t take long for paging up and down to become frustrating and exhausting, like running up and down flights of stairs to do your work.

  2. The second problem happens when you return to a writing project from other work or another writing project -when?the information is stored in an outline and notes, you?have to slog through pages of material to refresh the context and recapture your thoughts, and actually most of the case the context you captured isn’t quite complete.

Dan then explained how mind mapping solves the above two problems:

  • The two-dimensional space of mind maps allows you to navigate around quickly with mouse, and put an idea in the right place in the hierarchy, expanding and folding the level of detail as needed. Because this is quick and easy, ?engages capturing more ideas and reorganize them faster.
  • When you return to a mind map of the writing, the context of the latest thinking is quickly restored, nothing is missing or lost, because you can see the big picture of the writing project and the relation between different parts.

Other benefits of min mapping for writings:

  1. Capturing ideas from an interview. I think this is because with mind maps you don’t have to write long sentence, you mind will not be interrupted so that you can follow the?interviewee.
  2. Taking notes when ?reviewing a transcript or other material.

BTW, I’m excited that some features of the upcoming professional version of MindVisualizer mind mapping software will make the long writing projects easier 😉

Click here for Dan Woods’ great article about mind mapping for wring.

Mind mapping for GTD?

GTD (Getting things done) for time management and productivity invented by David Allen is really a great way ?for task management and project management, and it’s becoming more and more popular nowadays.

On the other hand, according to Chuck Frey’s survey, to do listing and project management are two of the most frequently used areas of mind mapping.

So this question came to my mind: How good can mind mapping play for GTD? Mind mapping is well known for its ability to see the big picture of information, maybe this can be used for the process of determine the next action and reviewing?

Mind mapping example

Well, since we are working on the professional version of MindVisualizer, it’s been a while since the last major upgrade of MindVisualizer Standard. But I’d like to let you know that MindVisualizer is actually being improved constantly, so I am posting a mind map example that shows the new gradient style that’s added recently. In this mindmap example, the diagonal gradient style that’s is one of the three supported, the other two are vertical and horizontal gradient. No mind map samples will be posted for the later two, because you’ll be soon able to apply that look and feel to your own mind maps after the next new version of MindVisualizer Standard is released.

BTW, if you are an existing MindVisualizer Standard user, you’ll notice the improved graphic quality, that’s true because we’ve also changed some underlying code for the drawing part.

the 'SQ4R reading method' mind map example
the 'SQ4R reading method' mind map example

concrete5 – A very promising open source CMS I found!

There are a lot of open source and commercial CMS available, but concrete5 is a the most easy and intuitive one I found recently, it’s as easy and intuitive as google creator, but it’s far more powerful, the unique feature it provides is that you can edit your whole site in the WYSIWYG mode.

Note, I am saying you can?edit the whole site visually! Oppositely,??in WordPress you can edit the posts/pages with its WYSIWYG editor, but all the other elements such as header/sidebars/footer you have to setup/edit/configure them in other none-visual ways.

The down side is that is pretty new and there is not too much themes available, but I think it’s very promising!

?Check their administration control demo and you’ll be amazed how easy and intuitive it it!the link?concrete5

a mind mapping and business problem solving discussion

The author of the mind mapping software blog Chuck Frey has just added a post to invite his readers to share their thoughts about creative problem solving. ?According to the mind mapping related discussions?taken place in Chuck’s blog, I can imagine that this will be another hot topic, as a?mind mapping software?developer I can’t wait to see the insightful comments that are supposed to be?upcomming!Join the discussion now?

New Gmail Feature: Contact picker (Google Apps) only

Google has just now introduced a long-awaited feature for Google Apps (formerly known as gmail for your domain) – contact picker, and it’s really what I expected!

Now the “To: “, “CC:” and “BCC:” next to the recipient list box is clickable, as following:

clickable label

And you click on it the “contact picker” window will pop up:

gmail contact picker popup window

In the “contact picker” window:

  1. On the top is the search (filter) box, as you are typing the search string the contacts will be filtered instantly, so that you can locate a specified contact easier. Nice! This is a filter-as-you-type feature, like what we implemented in our mmind mapping software MindVisualizer ? . Note: You can only search for contact names but cannot search for the domain part of the contact’s email addresss.
  2. Under the filter box is the contact group, and there are 3 built-in groups: “my contacts”, “most contacted” and “suggest contacts”. And you can even define your own groups, see below.
  3. The contact list is below the contact group, which you can click to select.
  4. The selected contacts are displayed in the bottom area, and once you click Done the selected contacts will be added to TO, CC or BCC box in the email composing window, depends which which link you clicked to call up this “contact picker” window.

To conclude, it’s a great feature which many google apps? users (and gmail users? Sure!) have been hoping for a long time, tough I think the “filter as you type” search box should support filtering against the whole email addresses. And I believe this great function will be supported in gmail very soon!

How to use mind mapping in your MicroISV software business

You know what? I use MindVisualizer to design MindVisualizer nowadays 🙂

I recently talked with Bob Walsh about using mind mapping in one’s MicroIsv business and here is the brief? descriptions of my usages:

  1. Running?? SWOT analysises :
    1. List all competitor products I can find on the Internet;
    2. List all advantages and disadvantages for each of them;
    3. Use colors, icons and fonts to identify important parts I need to pay more attentions.

    By seeing the big picture, it’s a really a better experience than doing SWOT with tables or other non-visual approaches.

  2. Making up my pricing strategy:
    1. List all my competitor products;
    2. List all available editions for each of them;
    3. List the unit prices and discount strategies for each.
    4. Compare and get your pricing strategy out.
  3. Planning new features:
    1. Brainstorm all ideas;
    2. Identify features by its importance, with icons, colors, whatsoever;
    3. Identify whether a feature should be in the standard edition or professional edition;
    4. Like work breakdown in Project Management, I can breakdown features into functions;
    5. I can even turn the listed features/functions into tasks by assigning a scheduled date, expected duration, etc.

As you can see there are a lof of things for MindVisualizer to do with task scheduling part, in fact that is what we are working on – a project called ProjectVisualizer 😉

Listen to customers is an essential habit for software developers

I wrote an article about the text 2 mind map feature in MindVisualizer few days ago, by coincidence one of our prospects contacted us yesterday and suggested allowing directly import a text file from disk will be better, because you’ll don’t have to drag & drop or copy & paste. That’s good idea and today we quickly added a new item under the File menu and released the new version to our internal area for testing.

The end users of a software usually think in different ways from the software developer, as a software developer you might ignore something that is simple technically but important for your customers to save their time in their daily work. So listen to customers is a must-have “habit” I think, especially for software vendors competing with other already well-established big names and well-known freewares.

Today we also solved an compatibility issue? with Windows Vista, you’ll no more seeing any error when opening attachments under vista.

Convert outlined text to mind map in MindVisualizer

Simon Fodden introduced an online text2mindmap service which can? convert outlined text into a mind map, as Simon Fodden said it’s a quick way to get a mind map and I agree,? in fact MindVisualizer has the same feature and it can considerably save you time.

For example you have the indented text as following (note the underscores means spaces):


By invoking the ‘Quick Insert Multiple Topics’ command under the ‘Insert’? main menu, you can quickly convert it to a mind map like:

convert text to mindmap, months of the year

The world’s ex-largest mind map?

Last November, Lee Xian Jie claimed that they have made the world’s largest mind map in Singapore. They did a good job. Here I want to show you the largest mind map in China – or the (ex) largest mind map in the world 😉 It was made in Shanghai, China, November 2006, it’s been over one year since then, I think it’s still worthwhile to mention it again, since as far as I know no one has mentioned it in the English world – I should have done it, I didn’t have a English blog at that time though 🙂

It was coordinated by one of my friends called Qu zhinan who is known as the most famous mind mapping blogger and evangelist in China, check the photos bellow. You won’t find me in the photos, I did not participate in that event because I was putting all my effort with my team in developing MindVisualizer. However, I will not miss the next similar, but bigger event he is planning this year, which the mind map will be 2008 (we are holding the Olympic Games in Beijing) square metters large!

Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you that the main topic of the map is “A History of Chinese Civilization”.

Year 2006-the largest mind map in the world part 1

Year 2006-the largest mind map in the world part 2