Earlier this month, Inspiration Software officially launched WebspirationPro, its web-based mind mapping, outlining and collaboration tool. The application has been in beta testing for the last three years. What’s new is that the developer has divided its web-based mind mapping application into two products: Webspiration Pro, which is targeted to business people and college students, and Webspiration Classroom, which is aimed at the K-12 education market.
I logged into my beta account, after choosing the option to convert it to a Webspiration Pro trial account, and had a look around. The interface is identical to what I saw when I first reviewed the beta version in 2008 (click the image above right to view a larger version). The application now offers nearly 50 mind map templates, a mixture of business (group project plan, problem solving process and social media campaign, for example) and college/educational (persuasive speech or essay, inquiry-based paper and study guide, for example). That’s nice to see, but the list of templates is a hodge-podge and could have been divided more neatly into business and college-level template folders. There also seems to be a number of templates that are focused on the needs of educators (vs. students) that I’m not sure really belong here.
The map collaboration capabilities of Webspiration Pro now include the ability to track who made what changes to your team map, as well as the ability to roll back changes to a previous version of the map. I also noticed that, in addition to downloading your mind map as an Inspiration document, you can choose options to download it as a Word document or transfer it to your Google Docs account. In particular, it’s nice to see the capability of moving your map from one cloud-based service (Webspiration) to another popular online document tool (Google Docs).
My only question is: Why was Webspiration in beta for 3 years? Normally, a program spends 3-6 months in beta, with a small group of testers. Inspiration Software says over 200,000 people participated in the Webspiration beta. To be fair, the application was launched just before the global economy went into the deepest recession in many years. The education market, which is Inspiration Software’s main focus, probably faced frozen budgets and limited spending on software for the last several years. Now that the global economy is starting to recover from the doldrums, it will be interesting to see where the developer takes this solid online tool. Will it become a leader in the online mapping space and continue to expand its palette of business-focused visual mapping tools? We’ll see.
Webspiration Pro is very affordable: subscriptions are US$39 per year (or $3.25 per month). No enterprise or volume pricing has been announced.
I said it in 2008 when I first saw Webspiration and I’ll say it again: This is a well-designed tool that is on par with the best web-based mind mapping tools, and is worthy of your attention. The cost is low enough that you can easily open an account and spend several months playing around with it to see if it meets the needs of you and your team.
You can learn more about Webspiration Pro on the application’s website.