Do mindmaps on a computer first or on paper?
This is a response to a Twitter question from @danieljohnsonjr, but it is an often-discussed subject, so here’s my take (140 characters was not enough!)
I most often use a computer for the first rough-out of a mind map, because it allows for continuing change, growth and maximum flexibility. But this is probably because most of my mind maps are for my consulting business or clients. Often I mind map to organize a lot of information. Or to track information as I research a topic on the web. Here too, a computer-based map (or 3D landscape in my case) is best.
And if you’re working on collaborative mapping with someone geographically distant, a browser-based online mapping tool beats hand-drawn maps any day.
But – but – but …
Hand-drawn, paper maps really do have strengths in some areas and for some people. The physical pleasure of working with bright colors and drawing your own images (however rough – like mine) can encourage creativity and be motivational.
Choosing a hand-drawn map, which means you won’t have to worry about computer navigation or shortcut keys, can help with total focus when trying to carry out a detailed analysis of a subject.
The use of color, having items appear in the same place on the map (computer software often moves nodes to make space) and your own thinking about how to illustrate nodes (instead of ’pick a clipart image’) are said to help with learning.
Mind maps are such general purpose visual thinking aids, that there’s no simple answer to whether software or paper is best, though I’ve often seen claims to the contrary on the web.
I hope that helps.
PS – sorry there’s no mind map in this! It was quickly done to answer the question. I’ll add some later and put it in WikIT the mind mapping wiki.