Meetings, shootings, creative sessions or plain brainstorm sessions. Many professionals are involved in one of them. Flip overs, blackboards or whiteboards are often used to structure thoughts, ideas, mind maps, etc to create and overview of all the data. The handwriting and hand drawing are intuitive means to document them. The only problem is to translate the data into digital format. Usually the only way to achieve this is taking pictures or making scans. Mapul’s MAPMYselft offers a tool that helps you to document a brainstorm directly into a digital format.
What is it?
Mapul’s MAPMYself is an online tool with an intuitive interface that helps you to document mind maps and brainstorms directly into a digital format. This makes it easier to recall the information in a later moment. The maps/organograms are built in simple but effective organic looking graphics, in which you are able to edit shape, colours and fonts. The digital format offers an important benefit compared to plain pen and paper; the free trial contains more than 3000 images that can be found and placed easily. If you are willing to pay $4.60 the image library will be extended with a Flickr add-in (www.flickr.com). As a premium user you are also able to add links to other media to the branches. The ability to add any kind of image to your map within a second adds interesting opportunities for brainstorm sessions.
How does it work?
MAPMYself is a web-based tool that you have to start with opening your browser and visit www.mapul.com. Click on the big image above the title. If Microsoft Silverlight is installed on your PC, a pop-up screen with content will appear. Log in with your account that can be created by simply signing up with your email address.
Once signed up and logged in you are able to start the tool. Begin by selecting an image that forms the origin of the map and fill the topic of the mind map. MAPMYself uses a Microsoft Office-like interface, with a limited amount of features. To change the scale of the images click on the lower right grey dot and choose the desired size.
There are two ways to build out the organogram. The quick way is to use the SpeedMindMap feature. Select a branch (or the centre image), press enter to a branch from the selected branch, type your text and press enter again to add a new branch. If you want to have more control in constructing your branches you can also add them by clicking a dragging. When hovering above the branch a white dot with a red edge appears. If you click on the inner white an extra branch will be added. By clicking on the red edge, you are able to drag the current branch to a new location.
MAPMYself has the potential to become a valuable tool in brainstorm sessions. The software offers a quick and logic interface that helps you to document your brainstorms in a digital format. The add-in image browser promises to be an interesting added value compared to normal pen and paper. With this feature you are able to find and paste images directly into your map and stimulate/support the creativity in a brainstorm with visual data.
The software offers quite some options to save the brainstorm. Beside .xml, .jpg and .pdf you are also able to save it as Microsoft Word document. This compatibility will make the maps easy to share.
Currently however, the software has to deal with three important issues:
- Only one person is able to work on the sheet. To make it more interactive and intuitive, it could be interesting if it would be possible to log in with different accounts and work on the same file simultaneously.
- The graphics of the software are quite informal. The options do not allow you to edit the lay out of the maps to make them more formal. This means you have to accept the bright, curvy and organic appearance.
- The software lacks some standardized interactions. Scrolling with your mouse or track pad is not possible. Moreover, shortcuts like Ctrl-C, Ctrl-X, Ctrl-V do not work with graphics. This requires you to take extra steps in some cases.