Sunday, October 24, 2010

DropMind : Product Review – Picture your Thoughts

Seavus has come out with a new mind mapping software DropMind . The product is available in different flavours – desktop ( Windows, Ubuntu, Mac ) , web based, mobiles and IPad. Making the product available for mobile devices looks very interesting and promising too.

Mindmaps are used for visualizing thoughts, software project management, brainstorming and project management too. The web version of DropMind can also be used as a web based project management tool for collaborating among users.

The Desktop Version
The desktop version uses the ribbon style interface, which has probably become the standard for most of the new applications. I started off by creating a simple mind map ( see below )
I found the user interface easy to use, friendly and intuitive with the appropriate command grouped together. However, there  The mind maps support  notes, attachments, multiple hyperlinks , relationships, task info which are helpful for users to picture their thought to reality.  I use task info very much as they help in project management activities e.g time estimate, progress; had there be an option to roll the task info to a Gantt chart, it would have been extremely useful .  DropMind allows users to import and export their mind maps from popular mind map formats , and several other formats.
Personally I liked the Presentation feature and found it innovative and useful. This  feature allows the user to take snapshots of the entire map/ parts of it and transform it into a slide show. The Take Snapshot feature let the users specify whole/part of the map , whereas the Generate Snapshot feature takes the snapshot of the entire map and also the topics/subtopics associated with it . Though there is an option of exporting the map to PowerPoint, I would prefer generating a slide show on the fly using this feature. The only problem I found with the slide shows , is that I could not delete a single slide using the Del button – looking forward for this  in the next release.
The Web Version
The web version also has the ribbon interface and user friendly collaboration features.  Besides having all the desktop features, the web version has some exclusive features – like exporting mind maps to Basecamp , built in topic search with Google , Bing and Wikipedia.
However I came across some rough edges in the free web version . When I synced the mind map created with the desktop edition ; the synced map had all the elements ; but lacked the style. Right clicking on the topic, brings up a Silverlight menu. The appropriate menus appeared along side the topics when clicking on a arrow sign, only in IE but not in Firefox. Similarly some features was functional in IE , but not in Firefox. There were some cosmetic issues too which also needs some attention – probably the developers might need to look into the detailing .
Overall I found DropMind a nice business mind mapping software , worth the money with some great features.

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