When Nick Duffill sent me an e-mail about Mindomo, I was expecting to see just another web-based mind mapping tool: you know, basic functionality in a Flash-enabled interface. Some features, but mainly lots of future promise. But imagine my surprise when I read Nick's post and then tried it for myself - and discovered that Mindomo is actually a very polished, full-featured mind mapping application which boasts a set of features that rivals many desktop visual mapping programs. Its business-oriented capabilities include:
- Support for multiple types of map layouts
- An impressive set of tools for customizing map topics - node shapes, hyperlinks, symbols, relationship lines, area boundary lines and much more
- Support for task information, including start/end dates, assigned to, duration and priority and status icons
- The ability to import maps from and export to other mind mapping applications, such as MindManager
The program runs fast and very smoothly - its hard to believe that a Flash-based application could replicate the experience of working with desktop software so completely! I did notice, however, that I couldn't freely position map branches, and I encountered an error message when I tried to save the map I created. Like most beta applications, Mindomo is bound to have a few glitches...
In his blog post, Nick points out an important aspect of Mindomo: One of the factors that has been preventing wider adoption of desktop mind mapping software is that many corporate IT departments keep their employees' PCs tightly locked down. In order to purchase and install any software, employees must get a special dispensation from the IT folks. Hence, if IT doesn't see the value of mind mapping software, then chances are you're not gonna get it on your PC. Mindomo, on the other hand, is a hosted, web-based application. There are no upgrades or patches to administer. It runs on any operating system, in any browser, with a minumum of support.
To their credit, the developers of Mindomo plan to offer several versions of this impressive visual mapping application:
- Mindomo Free: This version enables you to create and share maps with your colleagues and friends. All maps are hosted on Mindomo's servers.
- Mindomo Premium: Like the free version, this one is hosted on Mindomo's servers, but it adds the ability to create user groups and enables several people to collaborate on the same map. It's also deployed on a faster hosted server than the free version. (4.99 Euro/month, or about US$6.70)
- Mindomo Business: This version can be installed on your company's servers, and easily deployed across as many desktops as you need, all via a web browser. (request quote for pricing)
- Mindomo Education: Similar to Mindomo Business, in that it's hosted on a local server. But it's offered only to educational institutions, with special pricing. (request quote for pricing)
Look out, developers of desktop mind mapping software programs - Mindomo has got you in its sights!