Let’s briefly look at the history of Mind Mapping Software.
Years ago there was none….
And today there are literally hundreds of versions of Software that do Mind Mapping.
Ok history lesson over.
But what of Tony Buzan and his involvement in the development of a computer based version of his amazing thinking tool?
Well that is a bit of a chequered story in itself and depending on who you talk to and what rumours you believe the fact remains that for over 30 years there hasn’t been a software aligned to the man himself and his Mind Map invention.
And then along comes Chris Griffiths and the development of Buzan Online – a company set up to develop a Mind Mapping Software in Tony’s name.
I am not sure whether there was ever a version 1 of iMindMap but last year I got hold of version 2 and boy was it diabolical.
You see what they tried to do with iMindMap was bring together the power of a computer based tool with the fundamentals of what is good Mind Mapping.
And to be quite honest, it looked like an impossible task, not least because in the Mind Mapping community there are basically two camps – those who are wedded to the hand drawn approach and those who were introduced via software and can’t see the point of all that drawing stuff and single keyword.
Trying to unite them in one peice of software would certainly prove a challenge to the hand drawn purists who may not even know how to switch a computer on (that’s a joke…….!) and the software mappers might not see the point especially if they were users of “That Other Software” that currently dominates the marketplace.
I don’t know why I didn’t immediately claim a refund because I was very disappointed with it.
However Chris and the team rolled their sleeves up and quite quickly (to their credit) released version 3.
Mind Maps Software Doubts
At the time I was not sure whether the new version of the Mind Maps Software was going to be any different (see my post “Mind Mapping Software – A Viable Alternative to Mind Manager?” and I was a little disparaging about it during their beta testing phase.
However when it was released it was much better and started to look quite good.
Yet it still wasn’t enough to tempt me away from using “That Other Software”.
So fast forward to this year and the launch of version 4.
Mind Maps Software Expertise
I was involved with the beta testing of the product but to be quite honest, I had a look, gave a few thoughts and suggestions, but didn’t really get too involved because of time and I wasn’t convinced that it would be much different from version 3 (which I had but was not using).
Boy was I wrong.
Version 4 was launched with a flurry at the end of April, nearly 4 weeks ago now and I can honestly say it literally took my breath away.
Now I am not going to bore you with all the features of the software, check those out for yourself at the Official iMindMap Website. – You can get a free trial – it really is worth just taking a look.
I will be sharing more about what it does in future posts but what I wanted to do was tell you just how good it is.
Here were the words going through my mind when I started to play with version 4:
As someone who has been a hand drawn Mind Mapper for 15 years I have an obvious bent towards the kinesthetic side to using Mind Mapping and have only been harnessing (other) Mind Mapping Software tools over the last 12 months.
Great Contribution to Mind Maps
So to find a software that gives me the same physical experience of creating a map on screen is a real joy to behold.
But it is much, much more than just a graphics tool that allows you to create Mind Maps on screen.
I said I wouldn’t go into the features, but I just have to tell you that it has a presentation mode to die for (ok maybe a bit of an exaggeration there but it is bloody good).
Its project management capability in my mind sets it apart from any other similar tool on the market and for the first time (that I have seen anyway) you can display your map AND Gannt information on the same screen – a true meeting of the right and left brain in the same place.
There is so much more I could tell you and don’t have the time to right now but I was so impressed with what I see in iMindMap Version 4 that I emailed Chris Griffiths the Buzan Online and called him a Smug B*****d.
Here is what I said to him in my e mail:
Well at least I got your attention LOL
I have finally got my copy of iMInd Map online and I just wanted to send you my initial personal thoughts.
First of all, if you are not sitting in your office feeling extremely SMUG then you should be because having just installed V4 and played around with it, I am stunned at how different this is from the previous versions and just how good it is.
I would imagine the combination of recovering from the early clunckiness of V2, managing the pressures of the hand drawn Mind Map purists in your camp, planning how to fight you way out from under the shadow of and constant comparison to “that other Mind mapping Software”, together with managing the design, implementation and testing of a complex and no doubt technically challenging project – you have had quite a job on your hands….and I think you have done a magnificant job.
So you have every right to be smug about it LOL
Fortunately Chris has a sense of humour and he e mailed me back from his Blackberry from Disney in the US whilst taking a well earned break with his family after what must have been a very busy and no doubt stressful time for him and his team.
It seems there are more exciting things in the pipeline but he wouldn’t tell me what but I am sure it doesn’t take a genius to work out that there is likely to be some collaborative version and maybe even a mobile version of iMindMap.
I will see if I can get more out of him on his return but no doubt I will be sworn to secrecy.
So hopefully by now you will have sensed that this software is good and that I am now a fan.
If I was to summarise my thoughts of it in one short paragraph here is what it would be:
“Buzan Online has done what we in the Mind Mapping community previously thought was impossible - they have combined the tremendous thinking benefits of hand drawn mind maps with the processing, storage and manipulation power of a sophisticated software tool. Previously Mind Mappers defined themselves as either “by hand” or “with software” – now there need only be one definition – by iMindMap”
I have been a long time user of “That Other Software” for about 10 years now and for the first time I have found another Mind Mapping Software that I will use as well….and who knows I might even switch over completely.
So I think you owe it to yourself to try out iMindMap version 4 if you are a long time hand mapper and have not made the jump into computer based mind mapping, if you completely new to using Mind Maps and even if you are an established and long time user of any other Mind Mapping Software.
At the very least it will compliment what you are currently using and once you start reaping the rewards of the features it offers, you might even switch over completely.
So head over to the Buzan Online Website, download your free copy of iMindMap4 and find out what all the fuss is about.