Desktop mind mapping software versus web-based mapping tools and mobile mind mapping applications: Which is the best platform?
The answer is it depends on the type of work you do and your work style.
Each platform has its pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look, so you can make an informed decision on the tools that may meet your needs.
Desktop mind mapping software
- Powerful and flexible
- Capable of supporting and enhancing many different types of business applications
- Powerful project management tools
- A larger screen enables it to display complex mind maps
- Many options for importing and exporting data with mine maps
- A powerful tool for group brainstorming
- The ability to integrate with enterprise applications like share point and Microsoft project
- Full-featured programs are rather expensive on a per desktop basis
- Not as portable as other options
- It may be challenging to get your IT department to agree to let you install it on your desktop computer or laptop
- Only one person at a time can add to or edit a mind map
Who is it recommended for:
- Power users
- Anyone doing strategic planning or project management
- Knowledge workers whose IT policy dictates that your files must be stored behind the corporate firewall
Web-based mind mapping tools
- Multiple people can work a single mind map from multiple locations at the same time
- Entirely browser-based – there is no software to install and maintain
- The ability to integrate with many web-based applications
- The ability to integrate with web-based task management applications
- Depending upon where you work, your company‘s IT department may take a dim view of you storing your maps in the cloud, outside of the company firewall
- Not as full-featured as desktop mind mapping software, but the gap is closing
- Limited import/export options compared to desktop software
- There is only one real option for power users: MindMeister
Who is it recommended for:
- Knowledge workers who are just starting to try out mind mapping tools
- People with limited budgets
- People who want to collaborate with others in multiple locations
Mobile mind mapping applications
- These apps give you the ability to mind map anywhere, anytime and then transfer your mind map to the desktop for further development and refinement
- They are inexpensive – mobile mind mapping apps are free or low-cost, making them an ideal way to try out mind mapping to see fits into your workflow and thinking style.
- Only a handful of the mobile mind mapping apps are updated on a regular basis. The rest seem to be “lost in time” – created once by a developer, and then ignored thereafter.
- Once an app developer stops supporting his or her application, you’re stuck with your mind maps stored in a proprietary format.
- Screen real estate is extremely limited on smart phones. To effectively mind map, you need a screen at least the size of a tablet.
- Like the web-based mind mapping applications, mobile apps store your files outside of the corporate firewall, which may be a problem for your IT department. It may be an even bigger concern, because so many smartphones get stolen.