Electronic brainstorming applications available for mind mapping

by PYB James | Dec 12, 2010

Linux Software have developed a selection of mind mapping tools, to enable the graphic representation of ideas and visually illustrate related ideas and thought processes.

View Your Mind (VYM), Semantik and Labyrinth Mind Mapping are free applications Linux has created to help users perform thinking tasks, forcing the human brain to link its logical and creative sides. Ideas are linked by lines, branches and different colours, much like the way in which people brainstorm ideas with a pen and paper. This is a sort of ‘electrical brainstorm’.

Although these applications are not flawless, they do provide a structured support to thinking though complex ideas. However mind mapping is not for everyone. Some people find that brainstorming and creating lists distracts from the task in hand whereas others find it useful.

Mind Mapping through these applications, although similar to more traditional mapping ideas on pen and paper, does allow for certain extra advantages. Features allow the user to add to and modify ideas, make notes, make graphical illustrations, connect ideas and map breakout thoughts with lines or branches. This enables the brain go in new directions without ideas becoming cluttered and disorganised.

VYM is like a mapping tool, users can use lines, colours and shapes to travel through concepts. It allows for multiple work spaces through the use of tabs. It has a number of short cuts for mapping quickly, and marrying up parts of ideas.

Semantik features pop up tips and the user interface has been designed to be more intuitive to new users. Users can also design their own toolbars. Outputting options are more limited however.

Labyrinth is also very simple to use, although not as flashy as the previous two in terms of design. Users can show their ideas with scalable shapes and lines, and click on any empty space to start a new idea.

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