Mind mapping is used by over 250 million people around the world and is one of the oldest and most effective tools for boosting creativity, memory, and organization. In fact, there have likely been countless occasions when you’ve used a ‘spider diagram’ or a ‘brainstorm’ (as they are sometimes called) to help you generate ideas for a project or structure a report or essay. Fortunately, due to continuous advances in technology and the creation of an app for every purpose, this process is now quicker, easier, and more effective than ever before – but how does mind mapping software work?
Mind mapping software is an invaluable tool that every workplace should have in their arsenal. However, before we go into the advantages of using digital mind mapping tools, we first need to explain what mind mapping is and how it works.
For the uninitiated, mind mapping is a creative thinking tool that has been around since the 3rd century BCE, when Porphyry of Tyros used a mind map to organize the works of the great philosopher, Aristotle. Though the original purpose of mind mapping was for an organization, today, this popular technique is most commonly used to aid solo and group brainstorming sessions. This is due to the fact that the interconnecting branches of a mind map work by mirroring your brain’s natural thinking processes, encouraging you to make associations between ideas and generate new ones.
Despite brainstorming perhaps being its most popular use, the purpose of mind mapping isn’t just limited to boosting creative thinking; this effective technique can also be used to aid recall and improve organizational skills, making it beneficial for planning meetings, structuring work, and creating revision aids (in the case of a student preparing for an exam or even a speaker memorizing a speech). This is because the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text – and mind maps are extremely visual thanks to their interconnecting branches, shapes, and other imagery.
Although mind maps are typically drawn by hand on a piece of paper or whiteboard, using an online mind map maker will make this process quicker and easier. It will often give you more freedom to add different styles, colours, imagery, and other visual cues to your map, which will also make it more effective. So, how do online mind mapping tools work?
What is mind mapping software?
As the name suggests, mind mapping software enables you to turn the process of creating a mind map into a digital one, which can bring many benefits such as saving time, being easily able to share your creations with others, and always having a record of your work to refer back to when needed.
There are a number of mind mapping tools available, including apps that can be downloaded to your desktop as well as cloud-based software (which simply means that any mind maps you create are hosted securely online). Though some digital mind map makers do just that, others (such as Ayoa) combine this functionality with other great features to help you be more productive, such as task management capabilities and built-in instant messaging. With the added benefit of these features, you can manage entire projects from start to finish by using a mind map to capture your ideas, then turn them into actionable tasks that can be shared with your team.
How does mind mapping software work?
Digital mind map makers work in a similar way to pen and paper; whatever method you use to create your map, it should follow the same format. Every mind map should begin with a central idea or topic in the middle of the page (which summarizes what will be explored), with interconnecting branches radiating outwards from this central point. These branches can then be used to organize your mind map into different sections and add additional ideas.
In order to create an effective mind map, you should follow the same best practice guidelines whether you are creating a digital or hand-drawn mind map. One of the main purposes of a mind map is to condense information and be highly visual, which is why you should use as few words as possible per branch and incorporate plenty of colours, shapes, and images to act as visual cues. If you want to add additional context to your map, some modern mind map makers will let you add notes and attachments that can be easily accessed without adding additional noise to your map.
Depending on the software, most mind mapping apps will enable you to add new branches at the click of a button and automatically adjust them to keep the layout of your map looking organized and tidy. However, some mind map makers will allow you to drag your branches and make them more curved, which mimics the look of a hand-drawn mind map. You can then easily change the style of your branches, and add text and images to them. Ayoa’s mind mapping tool offers a great degree of flexibility as you can choose from multiple mind mapping styles and add files, images notes, comments, checklists, and even tasks to the individual branches of your mind map.
What are the advantages of using mind mapping software?
One of the obvious advantages of using digital mind mapping tools is that they can save you time. Without the need to draw a map by hand, you can quickly create new branches, change their style and colour, and add text and images. You can also easily make edits if needed. To help you get started as fast as possible, many mind mapping apps even have a range of templates that you can use.
Another benefit of mind mapping software is that you can easily share your creations with others. Gone are the days of standing in front of a room full of people, quickly adding their ideas to a mind map as they throw them at you, then having to write a summary of your map to send to everyone after the meeting has ended. The best mind map makers actively encourage collaboration, allowing you to invite other members of your team to your map and edit it together in real-time. This is particularly useful now that more and more employees are working remotely and will likely continue to do so.
Prone to writing ideas down on post-it notes and misplacing them? Using software will ensure that your work is saved securely and that you can refer back to your map whenever you need to. If you choose a cloud-based mind mapping app, you can be assured that your map can be accessed from any of your devices – all you need to do is log into your account via the internet.
Mind mapping is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to brainstorm great ideas, boost their memory, or plan and structure their work more effectively. Why not try a digital mind map maker (such as Ayoa) today and see how it can help you become more creative and productive?