In my recent “What's Hot or Not” survey, I asked readers of this blog to rate a series of mind mapping software features on a scale of one to 10, where one equals "not hot" and 10 equals "hot." Sort of like the popular site that enables visitors to rank pictures of men and women based on their “hotness” (or lack thereof), only my survey was focused on popular features of mind mapping software.
Almost 350 of you responded, and the results were quite interesting. Here's how you ranked the features, from most to least popular:
- Making presentations with mind maps - 8.1
- Drill down/focus on branch - 7.8
- Storing task information in topics - 7.7
- Add-ins for more functionality - 7.6
- Brainstorming mode - 7.5
- Overview navigation map - 7.2
- Outline view - 7.2
- Integration with Microsoft Word - 7.1
- Reviewing maps with others - 7.1
- Integration with PowerPoint - 7.0
- Filter topics using icons/markers - 6.9
- Collaboration - 6.9
- Topic boundaries/borders - 6.8
- Filter topics using keywords - 6.7
- Right-click commands - 6.6
- Open source mapping software - 6.4
- Web-based mind mapping tools - 6.4
- Integration with Outlook e-mail messages - 5.8
- Ribbon toolbar - 5.6
Surprised? I certainly was. First, I had no idea that making presentations with mind mapping software, ranked number one at 8.1, would be so popular. Over 37% of respondents ranked it a 10, which means you feel quite passionate about this feature. I assume that many of you utilize your mind mapping software to develop an outline of your presentation, and then exported it too PowerPoint. Boy, was I wrong!
On the other hand, I was not surprised to see drill down/focus in ranked number two, with a score of 7.8. This feature, which has been available on Inspiration for many years and was recently added to MindManager in version 7, enables you to display only the currently selected topic and subtopics; the rest of the map temporarily disappears from the screen. This enables you to reduce visual clutter and focus your mind on fully developing that specific section of your map. Once you have done so, you can "focus out" to display the entire map once again. I am easily distracted, so I find this feature to be very valuable, and it looks like you do, too.
Storing task information in topics was ranked number three, with a score of 7.7. That's a no-brainer, considering the number of you who utilize your mind mapping software for project management. Tracking tasks in a map is an excellent way to increase your productivity, and I'm glad to see so many of you recognize that!
Add-ins for more functionality was ranked number four, with a score of 7.6. Over 32% of you ranked it a 10, which means this is another point of passion for respondents. This surprised me a little bit because, until recently, MindManager was the only mind mapping software program for which developers are creating add-ins. What I don’t know is if respondents are actually using add-ins with their mind mapping software, or if it sounds like a desirable enhancement that they may purchase in the near future.
Brainstorming mode was another hot button for respondents, who ranked it fifth with a score of 7.5. Significantly, nearly one-third of you (29.2%) ranked it a 10, which means you really love this feature. I do, too. Anything that allows me to record ideas quickly in a mind map and keeps my creative “flow” going is a great thing!
One of the biggest surprises to me was the low ranking that web-based mind mapping tools received; they were third from the bottom of the list, with a score of 6.4. Considering the amount of buzz that these web-based applications have been receiving lately, I thought this would have ranked higher than it did.
I also found it interesting that the ribbon toolbar came in dead last, with a score of only 5.6. Apparently, users of mind mapping software have a love-hate relationship with this productivity feature. I like it very much, because it exposes more of the program's features in fewer clicks; I find it’s a real time-saver. But I also know, based on several discussion threads that I’ve read in online forums, that some people really hate the ribbon toolbar. I’ll admit that it does take some getting used to, but I'm surprised that it scored this low in the survey!
What sticks out in your mind as you view the survey results? Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post.