MIND mapping is a method for outlining thoughts visually. You can draw mind maps on paper, but they become even more useful when created in an app.
MindNode, for iOS devices, makes mind maps look professional.
A typical mind map is drawn around an idea, with lots of spider-leglike “nodes” that spread out from the center, each corresponding to a subsection of the idea.
MindNode makes the process easy. With just a few taps, you can start a map with a bubble containing the name of a project or a descriptive title, and quickly add and label nodes.
MindNode handles formatting of the nodes and their arrangement on the page for you. You just have to type in your ideas and tap on the screen a few times as you create a new map. The app keeps out of your way, so it doesn’t interrupt your thought processes.
The interface is minimal, and previously entered information can be edited easily, either by changing what you wrote or moving ideas to a new position on the screen. You are not limited to text-only mind maps either, since you can drop images onto the page as extra visual cues.
The app offers different color themes so users can change how their mind maps appear. MindNode is relatively expensive at $10.
Mind Vector is another decent mind-mapping app, available for iOS and Android. It has features similar to MindNode’s, but it produces bolder, more colorful maps. You can even choose images as backgrounds.
This app also features visualization modes so that connected ideas can be viewed in various ways — for example, as a treelike system of lines and words, or as a more formal, squarely arranged hierarchical plot. It also features options like searching for specific text among idea entries, collaborative working and a drag-and-drop interface. Mind Vector is free to download, but it costs $10 to use unlimited nodes, remove in-app ads and unlock a few features.
Popplet has an excellent and easy-to-use interface with lots of visual cues; its design and the maps it creates are a lot more playful than MindNode’s.
Popplet has bright color schemes and an informal look, but it’s a powerful tool that can help you create large and complex mind maps. The app is also designed so that multiple users can collaborate on one map, making it useful for business groups, and it has a public sharing option so any users can view finished work. It’s a delight to use, and it’s just $5 on iOS.
Mindly, which is a free iOS and Android download, is somewhere between MindNode and Popplet in terms of the look and feel of its mind maps and its interface. Mindly creates maps as an interconnected web of words and images, similar to other apps, but it places the words and images you enter in nodes into circular bubbles.
These bubbles are organized in hierarchical rings around the central idea of each mind map you create. This helps keep the maps looking tidy and organized and also makes it easier to read through the mind maps later. You can, like the other apps mentioned here, add images, or a note or an icon to each idea in your map, and this creates an even more visually striking result.
Mindly is free to start, but this gives you a limited amount of nodes. To create complex maps, you must pay $7 to upgrade, but this also gives more options to export finished mind maps in different formats.
The iconic graphical adventure and puzzle-solving game Myst is one of the best-selling games ever made, and it has been ported onto lots of different systems, including iOS. Now it has finally made its way onto Android devices as realMyst. It looks a bit dated, but it’s still amazing. RealMyst costs $7.