This is a review of the Mindomo visual mapping program. This program is actually a triple threat. It has a desktop application, it has a web interface, and it's also available on mobile devices, although sadly not for the iPhone.
This review is part of the Visual Mapping Review Series 2014.
The Mindomo Mega-Review
In this review I'll put Mindomo through its paces and I'll let you know what I like, and what I don't like. I ended up going a little overboard on this review and made a 17 minute video. At least you know it’s thorough. LOL.
YouTube link (17:00)
Today let's take a look at Mindomo. I'm going to tell you what I like about it, what I don't like. I'm going to go over some of the features. Overall, I'm going to tell you whether this is something you should check out or maybe pass on.
Hey, it's Kevin. and just to give you an idea of who I am. I'm the author of a pretty cool visual mapping book called visual productivity, and also the guy behind the Visual Mapping Review Series. Last year I did seven reviews. This year I'm looking to do probably 20 to 30. What I do is I take a visual mapping program I spent about a day with it and create a review using that program. I'll tell you what I like, what I don't like. Then it's up to you to decide where you wanna go from there. Whether you want ot jump on this thing, or try something else, but it gives you an idea. In essence, I'm hopefully helping you cut through the clutter, because there are a lot of programs out there.
Let's get into it. Let's talk about Mindomo, and some of my initial reactions. Now, when I looked at it. I gotta tell you. when I first saw it, and read the specs, and looked at everything, I was really exited about it. I think that Mindomo has a lot of potential. It's got the triple threat, which is awesome. By triple threat as far as visual mapping goes, I'm talking about having a desktop client, having a web interface, and also having a mobile presence. Now, that was exciting to me. It has both iOS and Android. it also has Evernote integration, which is kind of cool, and Google Apps, which is an other cool thing. So, Overall I'm l ooking at this things saying, “Oh my goodness.”
I actually went in. I was like, “OK, I'm going to take my iPhone. I'm going to download this app.” It's going to be awesome. Unfortunately, they don't have it. It's not available on the iPhone. It's available on the iPad only. Android… I have an Android phone, I was able to download it onto my Android device.
Let's have a look at some of the features. I already mentioned that there's an app, and web-based, and all those good things. which is really cool, because sometimes you just want to work on your computer, do something on the web, or go somewhere, and you can work anywhere, but you still want to have the ability to go back to your phone. Because generally, you're working from your phone. Maybe you're putting things in from your computer, but your working from your phone. The desktop version runs on Adobe Air, which in itself isn't a bad thing. And it runs pretty well. It's very similar, as far as the layout, to how it looks on the web. And it seems pretty powerful. If you have the free version, you're not able to save the web-based version and go down to the actual desktop client. That's one of the things they've done to try and get you to upgrade and pay for their services.
I looked into Google Apps and Evernote. It's fine. It let's you save in a couple different formats and if you have Evernote, it lets you pull in items of items in from Evernote. That's a neat idea as well. You can take your things, throw them into Evernote. Then when you start working, you're able to grab those ideas, and drop them Mindomo… the visual map. The idea grabber is something that's neat as well. It's more like a clipper. You can go in and you can take ideas from the web, and throw them into the visual map.
I'll talk a little bit about the pricing structure. There are four pricing structures including the free option. The free version let's you have one project, which is just a categorization tool. Three maps within that. It doesn't let you add multimedia to it. You can still add web links, but can't add multimedia. You can't add images and you can't add video to the free version. The premium version is $36.00 for six months. You have to pay every six months or every year. So, it's $6.00 a month. It's a little bit cheaper, I think in the $5.00 range, five something, if you pay for the year. This allows for one, user but the big thing is that it allows for unlimited maps. So if you're there, for $6.00 a month, you've got unlimited maps. It's a Gig of storage. Unless you're dropping in a lot of video or a lot of pictures, you'll be fine as far as the space requirement go.
The next level up is the professional. $90.00 for six months. Again, there's a 10% discount for paying for the entire year up front. Again, limited to one user, but what happens is it gives you 5 Gigs instead of 1 Gig. I'm not convinced that you're going to use that much, unless you're heavy into multimedia. One of the big features is that you can now have guests which beat you can invite someone to come and work on the visual map with you. They don't have to be a paid member and that's one of the neat things about it. You can take your paid membership and almost spread it around a little bit to a couple of friends or a couple of co-workers so they can help you build on your maps. It's a neat idea.
The team level takes things one step further. $162.00 for six months giving you users isn't too bad because it gives you a team interface. You can all be working on the same visual maps as you go. It's good for for collaboration and they give you more storage, and a couple of other things as well. So definitely lots of options. I don't want to spend too much time on pricing. You can decide whether it's going to be good or not.
Let me tell you about Mindomo. What I like and what I don't like, and I'll give you my overall impression of where I think this program is.
What I Like
Alright, so what I like. I like a lot of things about it. This is a really good program. I enjoyed a lot.
One of the big things is that the cut and paste just works. So many times programs limits how you can cut and paste and how you can share things. It's frustrating. I tested it out. I generally work in XMind, a lot of you guys know that. I copied the template, pasted it into Mindomo, and it worked flawlessly. I love it!
What that means is that even a free account is completely usable. That's a good thing because sometimes they hamstring the free accounts and they're useless. Some people get frustrated because they put all their information in and then they can't get it out. I like the idea of having free acounts being usable. You can cut and paste and put things into Mindomo. I tried and was able to cut and paste things out. It worked great.
Something else that's great is intuitive windows controls. Enter gives me another node at the same level. If I hit tab, it goes deeper. If I want to add another node right in here. I go ahead and hit enter. [New Node]. Enter. If I hit tab, I go One level deeper.
Something else I like is having the ability to just left click on this and drag this map wherever I want. A neat feature that I really like as well, is that the scroll button works exactly the same way. That's really cool. Good job on that guys. Something else I like is that a double click will add an new node where I want. That's as far as the main ones. So if I'm here and I want to have a new node somewhere, I can choose on the right side… the left side. I'm just going to go here. I'm going to try and hide it far on the left hand side. I'm going to double click. Boom. It comes all the way down to where I am asking for it. Not a huge thing, but it's kind of neat. If I want to hold down CTRL and double click, it gives me a floating topic. Again, it's neat… very intuitive. It works exactly how I would expect.
Another feature I like is the menu arrow. If I've hightlighted this, I can click on the arrow. It gives me several options. It's almost like a right click context menu, only I'm just regular clicking (left clicking). I can go ahead and change the font, and change the colours, I can change how everything looks as far as the map goes. It's neat that you're able to get there farily quickly.
I also wasn't sure about somethintg at first, but the popular controls will show up when you're editing a node. What I'm trying to tell you is… here, I'll create a new node, and you'll see. Right away it gives me the font, it gives me the size, it gives me bolding. A lot of the popular ones will pop up right away so you have them at your finger tips. For me, I really don't use controls like this very much. I don't change fonts all the time. I don't have 20 different fonts on the map. I think it's neat. I'm not sure if, long-term, that this will lead to more frustration, or whether I would start using this more. That's up to you whether you want to like it or leave it.
Next is the drag and drop. It's a really cool feature. If I want drag and drop something it's going to give me a red arrow that shows where it goes. I'm going to start moving this up. I'm going to left click on this and start dragging. You can see right away that it gives me this detailed red arrow. It shows exactly where it's going to go. I can go up several levels and I'll know exactly where it's going to be by the time I'm done. I can put it back exactly where it was. What I like about this is that the red show us very clearly, so you know where it's going to be. In other programs, you start dragging and you saying, “Oh my goodness.” You're not sure where it's going. It's almost like one of those grid snapping things. It's like, Boom, next. Boom, next. It shows you. It's going to go right here.
The last thing I like was the sharing options. They've got good sharing options. I'm not even talking about the export options. They've got good export options, but for me, I love the ability to have copy and paste. If I can copy and paste, and when I paste it goes into a tabbed document, I'm happy. That means I can take it wherever I want. That means my document… my information is not locked in. If I don't want to use this program in the future, or maybe I want to take some more information and bring it into this one I can do it. Very nice and very simple. A neat idea, and a great use for Mindomo is to embed links in a website.
Let me show you how we're going to do this. We're going to head over to share. Click on the share button. It'll bring up a small window. I'm going to go up here where it says Public on the Web. I'm going to hit change. Now it's going to give us a few options. You can have a private map or public. Obviously, it we're going to share this on the web it needs to be public. Then we can just choose the embed feature. Click on embed, and it'll give us exactly what we need to copy. We take that, we copy and paste it into the HTML section of our web site, and now you've got a visual map embedded in your web site.
Alright. Let's get into a couple of things that I'm not as big a fan of. What I'd don't like. There weren't that many things. These things may seem a little nit-picky, but I want to point out things that would be frustrating for me after using this for extended period of time. Some of the things I'm not as much the fan of.
One is the controls. There are controls on three sides. The left side has controls. The top part has controls. Even down by the bottom on the right hand side. There's controls everywhere. I wish there was a way I could hide the controls. I wish there was either a keyboard command or just a little link I could click and hide everything. I really don't think they're necessary. The other knock against the controls isn't that the bar across the top is really fit Phillips was frustrating for me is when I'm working out the is really thick. What's frustrating is when I'm working out and about and I have my laptop. I've got a 15 inch monitor my laptop, and every pixel matters.
So, if the bars can't be hidden, and they're wider than they need to be, it's a bit of a frustration point for me. Now, clearly I understand they want to sell you the upgrade. I've got no problem with that. They're trying to make it stand out. I think they could have done the same job, but had it thinner. You can see that I also put in here that I don't need much convincing. This is a very solid program. I've had a good experience using this today, and you can probably tell that if I'm complaining about the width of the bar.
The other thing that gets to me is that it's the undo and redo an add node buttons. It's all the things I would never use. I would never go up here to undo something. I always use Ctrl + Z, or Ctrl + Y to redo something. These are controls I'm never going to use. For me, I would love to be able to hide those, and get rid of them. That's me getting up on my soapbox about the controls.
In line with that. I'm not going to need the left hand toolbar that often either. I would almost rather have this left hand toolbar moved up along the top, and give me the option of hiding a single toolbar, wherever you want to put it. Probablay the top. And let me have a ton of space. Especially when I'm working on a mobile device, or a 15 inch laptop.
Something else that's a bit of frustration point for me is the focus on the node. My question is, “How can I get the focus off the node?” You can see right now this node is circled in blue. Great. That way I know exactly what I'm editing, where I am. The downside is, if I click off it, the blue stays on. As far as I know, there's no way to get the blue off of there unless I click on another node, and then it just moves it over somewhere else. It's not a big deal, but sometimes I just like having the map look clean, and I can't get off of there… I would rather just have a way where if I click off somewhere that the blue is off the map.
The last thing I'm going to pick on is auto-formatting with the nodes. What I mean by that is that some programs, if you add a new node, everything spins around or moves. This does to a point. Let me open a couple things, and we'll see if we can get a couple things to move. If I go too far, it just goes up and down. It's not spinning around. It's not keeping things even, the way I would like them to be. The people over at Mindomo have given us a way to get around this. I can go down and say reset subtopic position. I'll click on this and we might get a little bit of a reset. There we go. It changed it a little bit. There is a way to get around that and make things tighter, and make it look a little neater, but it doesn't happen automatically. I get that because it's a wab app that you'd have to have extra calls back to the server or whatever else. I don't know. That's something that I wish would happen, or there was an option that I could turn it on and turn it off at my whim. That is what I do not like.
Clearly, you can tell from the tone of this review that I'm very impressed with Mindomo. I've never used it before today. I'm completely new to it. I've heard about it. I had a great time using it. They had the formatting tools right in front of me, which I liked. I might start tinkering more than usual because of that. I also like the fact that the have the triple threat.
They had the desktop client, which actually works pretty well, but it's slightly limited as far as how things connect when you have the free version. They also have a great version, as far as the web version, and they've got mobile. Just not for my iPhone. If they would have have an iPhone app that would have worked good, this would be a pretty big recommendation. I'm still looking for that tie-in. A program that's got everyting. They came close.They did a really good job. They've been in business since 2006, I guess. I got that off their web site.
One of the bigger things for me, that may not be big for you, but let me tall you. If you're moving a lot of information around, it's important. That's copy and paste. This is really big. This reduces the need, or can even eliminate the need to have export formats. You can copy it. Paste it somewhere else. You can control how the data looks, and where it goes. I realize I'm a bit of a power user when it comes to visual maps, but this is really big, and something that's important when you look at things.
There you go. That's Mindomo in a nutshell. I recommend if you're looking at a web-based option, this should probably be one of the ones you at least check out. I got no problems recommending Mindomo, as far as my one day with it, as being on your short list of items to check out as far as a visual mapping solution.
Thanks for watching. We'll talk soon!