I haven’t worked with mind maps since my school days were over. I remember I used to work with FreeMind, but it’s been so long since then that I wondered whether there were any good web-based mind-mapping applications around today. I found two slightly different ones that I tested working on a mind map of my Indian Movie-watching Journey .
First, there was MindMeister, which worked the most similar to FreeMind. The free version seems to be bare, it doesn’t allow you to save styles (for formatting) or setup your share options — smart~ — it just goes from ‘private’ to ‘public’ … or you have to invite people, which should work for most. But it works and it lets you save your work, export in different sizes and formats, so it’s all good.
MindMeister lets you connect items with arrows that you can format, and it’s pretty easy to use. There were a few issues I had with the interface, one of them being when I had to zoom in and out with the browser, it sometimes glitched shifting items. Another issue was when you move an item, the arrow connections don’t follow it, and when you move an item that’s within another item, it loses the parent and becomes its own, so it was a bit difficult moving things around without breaking the hierarchic order, unless you minimized a node and carefully moved the item to the desired position.
There are also loads of mind map templates for different tasks, so it’s probably going to take a lot of testing to see if there are other would-be glitches.
Then I tested Text 2 Mind Map.
The catch is that there are no free accounts, but you can use their interface for mind-mapping, and it’s as simple as making a list of items and using the tabs to create the levels. Styling is bare, but I liked it a lot as web-based because it flows like an information cloud — you can shift nodes around as freely as you are capable. My only issue with it is that you can’t connect items, and that the PDF render option is not very good.
The JPG option looks pretty clear, though, and the site offers the option to save mind maps as well as sharing.