| | More

Mind Mapping on the iPhone or iPad

A year or so ago, a friend showed me iThoughtsHD for the iPad. This is an application for "mind mapping" which is a process of creating diagrams to visually outline information. It can be used to refine ideas or plan books, conferences or anything else.

A typical map consists of a central word or topic with associated words, ideas, or concepts connected by lines to the central idea. Different lines can be used to represent various types of connections. The connected items can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to the central item.

The maps can be enlarged over time as the user works out details and the graphic nature of the information makes it easy to focus on a particular part of the plan, issue, problem, etc. to better understand and solve problems.

A number of software packages for desktop computers provide this visual planning/outlining capability. iThoughts and iThoughtsHD bring this capabililty to the iPhone and iPad. They are easy to use and quite versatile.

To use the application, you either create a topic or start with an existing topic to edit and further refine it. iThoughtsHD supports a wide variety of ways for representing attributes of connected items including shape, color, fonts, symbols, numbering, expected dates and needed resources for various child items.

The app also allows notes to be associated with each node in the map to allow textual information that does not fit into the pictorial representation. The notes can be turned on and off. A second type of note dubbed a callout can also be attached to a topic. These behave like post-it notes.

Additional connectors can be used to link among various child topics to represent various relationships between them. There are a variety of connector symbols to be used however the user wishes.

Images including photographs can be placed in the map wherever this might be helpful. They can be shown as thumbnails which can individually be opened in full screen mode when needed.

The concept of mind mapping is attributable to a British popular psychology author, Tony Buzan. He argues that traditional outlines force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom whereas readers actually tend to scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. He uses popular concepts about the cerebral hemispheres to promote mind mapping over other forms of notes. He encourages users of mind maps to develop their own individual approach to using them.

iThoughtsHD is available through the Apple Apps store for $9.99. More information is available at http://www.ithoughts.co.uk/.