Do you have a systematic way of determining if your mind map is “done?” How do you know it’s as good as it can be? Here are 10 questions you can use to evaluate the quality and completeness of your mind map – a “report card,” if you will:
- Have you thought about who the audience of your mind map is and what needs they have? What that implies in terms of the way information is presented in your map?
- Are my topics and subtopics well organized and grouped logically? Pretend you’re someone who has never seen your mind map before. Would this “newbie” understand what you’re trying to communicate?
- Look only at the first level topics of your map. Is there a logical flow in a clockwise direction beginning from the top center and working your way around in a circle?
- Review each branch of your mind map one at a time and ask yourself: Is this branch complete in its present form or do additional subtopics need to be added to make it more complete? What’s missing, and should be added? What’s extraneous, and should be removed? What needs to be clarified?
- Does your mind map contain icons and symbols that are placed on specific topics to add meaning and context to them?
- Are these icons and symbols used consistently with a legend to help the viewer understand what they mean?
- What external resources (files, folders, links, e-mail messages) do you want to be able to refer to later? Make sure they are connected to your mind map.
- How long are your topics? If they are over 4-5 words in length, you ought to consider moving some information into topic notes, to help reduce visual clutter in your map.
- What do you want to emphasize in your mind map? What do you want viewers to notice first? Consider placing a colored boundary around an appropriate grouping of topics and subtopics to add visual emphasis to it.
- Should you walk away from your mind map for a few hours or days? If you’re stuck, and can’t figure out how to finish your map, this technique can really help. When you return to it, you’ll be viewing it from a different mental perspective. This should help you jump over the hurdles you’re now facing.
What types of questions do you use to assess the quality and completeness of your mind maps? I welcome your input, which will help all of the readers of this blog!