Mind Mapping for Everyday Web Teams
By Derek Schou, Associate Editor
Taking an idea from a concept to a fully realized product is a long journey and just like any journey, it must begin with a first step.
Every great story or must-have technology solution begins with a single, simple idea. Once product creators have formulated their ideas, however, they must then expand them to create additional layers, identifying all of the different possibilities and features of the concept, approach or design; and many business professionals, including strategists, developers and marketers, are using mind maps to make this process happen.
One of the most popular (and traditional) uses for mind mapping platforms is as a brainstorming solution, where users simply write/enter their ideas in the center of a piece of paper or document and build out the required layers and sublayers of notes or additional capabilities. By using mind maps in this way, users are able to create detailed "maps" of the different parts that will ultimately combine in order to make the final product.
There is more to mind maps than meets the virtual eye, however. While a variety of mind mapping solutions are on the market today (see sidebar), let's look at two distinct offerings and what they can bring to an enterprise's creative and development processes.
One of the more traditional offerings on the market is Coggle. A simple and straight-forward solution, Coggle enables users to plan their ideas and all of the steps required in bringing them to market. Users of the free solution, for example, can share their mind maps with their teams, track who has completed necessary phases and even revert to previously saved versions of their maps if necessary.
When asked what set apart Coggle from the other mind mapping tools available, James Crosby, the company's co-founder, responded, "Coggle is a space that works the same way that you think. Free from the physical constraints of paper, it's designed to redefine the way that documents work. We believe in documents that flow out from their central idea, not in reams and reams of lines of text or paragraphs confined to rectangles."
Mind Maps in the Hot Seat
Head online where Website Magazine editors review top mind mapping solutions at wsm.co/mindmap15
While a traditional solution like Coggle can prove useful for an enterprise, there are other, highly innovative, ways to use mind maps such as for data reporting. QASymphony, a provider of testing services, for example, recently released its new qMap offering in beta.
A module within its qTest product, qMap is not a traditional mapping tool. Instead of being used as a brainstorming and product mapping tool, qMap delivers quality-related information from applications. While mind maps are traditionally created by manually filling out each layer and sublayer, qMap automatically records results from users' sessions in selected applications. In order to gather the data for entry into qMaps, creators must leverage a tool called eXplorer.
According to Kevin Dunne, director of product strategy for QASymphony, eXplorer records a wide variety of data from users' sessions including what screen or URL users are on, how much time users have spent on different screens, and which devices and platforms users reached the site from (e.g. User A visited two pages, tested the demo session and included a bug note two days ago).
Make Better Decisions with Mind Maps
More versatile than ever, mind maps are a valuable tool for any team looking to organize its thoughts and make better decisions through planning and information.
3 Steps to Master Mind Maps
Set your enterprise on a productive path by learning how to make the most out of mind mapping technology at wsm.co/3mapmaster