Mind Mapping

Jennifer Coimbra
Chris Moore

comparative Analysis Rough Draft

Intoduction

Mind Mapping is an online tool that helps college students organize their thoughts and ideas by separating them into topics and subtopics. It is easier to write on a topic after all your thoughts are well organized and clearly separated. Mind Mapping works by creating a web with a main topic in the middle and then sub topics on the outsides. Each subtopic can also have information underneath them providing an easy way to follow your ideas and facts.

Writing a paper for college can be a daunting process but if students use a Mind Map as a tool to help them organize their thoughts, it can make the process easier. Grouping your thoughts visually for not only papers but any project is a useful tool when there are many topics that need to be covered. Mind Mapping is also a great way for students to better explain their ideas to others in a group project or class presentation making the direction of the project more clear with the visual aid. With some online Mind Mapping tools, there is the ability to create virtual collaborative communities making it easier for group members to discuss ideas from entirely different locations and edit the web themselves real time.

When we decided to test tools that can create Mind Maps and be useful for college students we had to set up some criteria in order to narrow down the possibilities. We decided that first and foremost, the tool must be online meaning that no program needs to be downloaded to a computer to run it. Secondly, the program must be free or have a free version available and also the program must be able to export, save, or print. Based on these three criteria we came up with three different tools, Bubbl, Mindomo, and Mindmeister.

Coming up with different tools that met our criteria wasn't the only thing that had to be done in order to figure out which Mind Mapping tools would be the most useful for college students, we also needed to go in and create duplicate webs in each program. By doing this, we have something to directly compare the programs together with. We decided to create a Mind Map based around Microsoft and then branch it off into it's software, it hardware, the people involved with it, and different brands that the company relies on. Based on our personal experiences from creating these maps, we were able to discover which program was the easiest and most functional out of the three.


Bubbl.us

Screenshots

Ease of Use

Bubbl has many shortcuts that makes it easy for a student to add a bubble and do other functions. It feels very straight forward for the features it offers and is a quick tool to get the hang of. Moving things around is as simple as clicking on a bubble and moving it. Everything is right there for you to use and it is simple to pick up from where you left off when you save it to your account.

Useful Features

In terms of visual organization you can add different colors to the bubble to help distinguish the important points. Unfortunately, this is about as complex as this Mind Mapping software gets. Other than adding text to bubbles, linking them together, and changing their color there isn't anything else you can do. If you have a very large Mind Map that has complicated connections it starts to get cluttered and confusing so it's best to use this for small simplistic diagrams.

Ease of Editing

The Mind Maps in Bubbl are fairly easy to edit and you can export and print it to share with others. The web can be imported later for future editing if you want to keep the files on your computer. Changing the bubble content is as simple as clicking on the desired bubble and changing the text and there is a color swatch that appears when you mouse over so you can change the bubble color.


Mindomo.com

Screenshots

Ease of Use

This Mind Mapping tool was not easy to use and it was difficult to add bubbles and link them together. It was also difficult to erase mistakes that were made. The way everything was laid out was simple enough to understand because it was almost identical to the Microsoft Office layout. It wasn't user friendly at all. For example, if you press on the bubble incorrectly then it might erase the whole thing instead of just the text inside. The subtopic bubbles cannot be moved after they are placed which makes it visually unpleasing and frustrating to work with.

Useful Features

It had many different features like adding notes, inserting links and multimedia, and searching the web. The student could also change the font format and define important relationships. Individual icons and symbols could be added to identify each bubble as important, unimportant, an idea, a question, and a problem.

Ease of Editing

It was not easy to edit this Mind Mapping software. From time to time the bubbles could not be moved individually and the web could not be saved without paying. Also the tools weren't well placed or defined so often times it was hard to find the thing that you needed.


Mindmeister.com

Screenshots

Ease of Use

This Mind Mapping tool is not as easy as Bubbl.us but it is easy enough to make a well structured Mind Map. The buttons to add or delete a bubble are well positioned as well as the help box, exporting, and printing boxes. There are tons of keyboard shortcuts found on the help page that can make Mind Mapping faster and easier to use.

Useful Features

It has many features like exporting on the iPhone/iTouch, web “play” button to see the web come together as the students’ thoughts did, web suggestions bar to the right, easy grid navigation, and many other features. It also has e-mail and Twitter notifications for when the Mind Map is changed. You can also change the Mind Map via text message.

Ease of Editing

The student can add others to view and edit the web which would make it easier for students working in group projects. With added collaborators and viewers as well as being able to export it as a PDF, an image, or a XML file, Mindmeister has a plethora of collaboration and exporting possibilities. It also has an offline mode that requires Google Gears when the internet is not available.


Conclusion

For any web the Mindmeister.com website should be used. It is easy to work and navigate through. It is also great for group projects and editing. Do not spend time on making a web at Mindomo.com because you will not be able to save it without paying. Bubbl.us was a pretty good site but it was still not better than Mindmeister.com. Bubbl.us can be used when working on individual projects but Mindmeister.com is better for group projects

Written by Elusid and Coimbra
February 23, 2010

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License