Mind Mapping Software – a Viable Alternative to MindManager?

Yesterday I waxed lyrical about choosing Mind Mapping software and gave you some pretty compelling reasons to choose the current "Weapon of Mass Mind Mapping" – Mind Manager 7.0.

So can they stay on top?

Will they stay on top?

Well that really depends upon who is going to emerge as the leading contender.

There are some established alternatives but a recent addition to the pack chasing the powerful MindJet machine is the software from the Buzan organisation – iMindMap.

This software that has been around for nearly two years now, is the first "officially" endorsed Mind Mapping Software.

If you talk to the Buzan organisation they will tell you that Tony has shunned Mind Mapping software over the years because the efforts presented to him never really reflected the true power of hand drawn Mind Mapping on which he has based his work.

Whilst this may be true, when you look at the impact Mind Manager has made you do wonder whether Mr Buzan has missed a golden opportunity in not being at the forefront of the development of a Mind Mapping Software earlier in the race.

Still better late than never and iMindMap seems to be here to stay so out of curiosity I purchased a copy just recently.

Now I must tell you at this stage that I am sharing with you my thoughts of version 2.5 which has been having a complete overhaul and will be re-released at version 3 sometime this month.

The timing of this post is to let you know that when version 3 is launched it will be priced much higher than version 2.5 BUT you can save £90/$180 if you buy the current version NOW because you will get a FREE upgrade to version 3 when it is released.

Aside from professional curiosity, that was pretty much a major driving force for me getting my wallet out because the promise of what’s to come seems so enticing.

So where is it now?

Well here is a screen shot of what an iMindMap Mind Map looks like:

imindmap image.jpg 












Ok so it does look more like the hand drawn Mind Mapping that the world coped with before these darn computers took over the world.

The Mind Mapping purists must have leapt high, high fived and pooled their coloured pens when this was revealed.

Probably the most exciting part about the software (from a hand drawn perspective) is the ability to add your own sketches to the Mind Map.

This tool is extremely powerful and sets it apart from anything else I have seen (which I will admit does not really extend much beyond Mind Manager and FreeMind).

But is that enough?

This software promises many of the core functions that Mind Manager delivers – export to Microsoft applications, hyperlinking, task management etc and could be seen as a viable alternative to Mind Manager in these core areas.

However, one wonders whether the focus on getting the brilliant sketch pad facility to work has got in the way of its basic graphical interface.

As a hardcore hand drawn Mind Mapper with lots of experience of using Mind Manager, this software sort of fell in between the two extremes but without really challenging either end.

In its current edition it is clunky, far from intuitive and with some dead ends (just try changing the text colour).

It doesn’t have the ease of use as a software that Mind Manager has (even if you take into account my fluency with that product) and doesn’t really allow true "drawing".

I really want this software to work because I can see where it could go but in its current incarnation it falls far short of its hype.

Now remember this is version 2.5 and I know that alot of work has been put into version 3 which is about to go through its Beta testing phase (which I am scheduled to be a part of if they are not completely miffed by what I have written here!).

My hope is that version 3 is light years from 2.5 because it certainly needs to be if it is ever to challenge MindJet’s domination of the market.

Now as I mentioned before Buzan is offering a free upgrade to version 3 if you buy version 2.5 now which will save you $180/£90.

If you are willing to risk that version 3 will be the Bees Knees then save yourself some money by getting in now with version 2.5 (that’s what I did).

If you are not then wait around for a while and once it is out, I will let you know what I think.

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