Just about everyone wants to boost their productivity. There is no shortage of tools that promise to help you do it, too. Many business owners are visual thinkers and mind mapping is one of the methods that can help you get more done. This review of Mindmeister is for you if you like whiteboards or always have to draw things out on a piece of paper.
I’ve been an account holder at Mindmeister since 2010 and watched it evolve and improve. You wouldn’t think that mindmapping, conceptually, would need a web-based app, but it is really, really useful. I like to draw my ideas with little circles or rectangles and organize them on a large piece of paper, but when I make a mistake (frequent) or change my mind (more frequent) I have to start all over on a clean sheet. They have won awards for their user interface and ease of use.
What I really like:
- The have a public mindmap library that lets you get ideas from other visual thinkers. You can see in the sample below that there are + and – marks (at the intersections of major sections) that allow you to expand or contract if your ideas start to grow into Mind Trees. Build a hierarchical flow of ideas, but condense them under one heading.
- They have mobile apps for iOS (iPad and iPhone) as well as Android. The mobile apps allow you to export/share your files as PDF, RTF, PNG or other formats.
- You can collaborate with others and see their suggestions and changes in real time, color coded even. Plus, there is an instant messaging chat function if you want to interact beyond the document itself.
- A strong history or track changes type function so you can go back to earlier versions.
What I’d like to see:
Offline access is available on a paid plan only. Of course, everyone wants to get more for free, but it would be nice to have some access when I’m not connected. However, to be fair, they offer a lot of features on the free plan. But, the iPad and Android apps (currently free on both platforms, but shows a price point of $7.95 for the iPad in iTunes store) allows offline access and syncs automatically once you reconnect.
There’s a simple free plan that includes up to three mindmaps. Paid plans start at $4.99 a month and include more storage, more file export options, and offline access. 30-day free trial on all accounts.
If you like to draw out your ideas for your own use or to collaborate with employees and colleagues, Mindmeister  is worth a look and test drive. It is a powerful web-based app that lets you create terrific looking documents instead of using a whiteboard.