How Would You Improve MindManager?

picture-31We have a lot of readers that rely on Mindjet’s MindManager to take notes, brainstorm projects, manage to-do lists and much more. MindManager is one of the most flexible applications I’ve ever used, with countless ways to apply it to a particular need or workstyle. I use their tablet pc features to ink a lot of mind maps, especially while in portrait mode. There is something about working in portrait mode with a tablet pc and MindManager that gets those creative juices flowing.

Although MindManager is well rounded and they continue to improve it with each release, I have found one area that has needed to be addressed ever since the first tablet pc version was released: the ability to search in ink in notes. Text in notes are searchable, but ink isn’t. I’ve notified MindJet about this issue with each release, but it never rises up the priority list of fixes.

How would you improve MindManager to make it a better product? If you don’t use MindManager, what new features or fixes would cause you to give it a second look? Is there actually too much in MindManager that you find it overwhelming to use? How would you suggest they make it easier for new users to get mind mapping right away?

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Comments

  1. Eric says

    I would love to have a presentation mode that allowed me to highlight or ink near or on the map. I’d use it tons in the classes I teach if that were the case.

  2. MarceloR says

    nyn mentioned making it free software. That would be great, but free as in freedom does’t seem viable for this company’s business plan ( even less so for free as in beer.) What they could do is lower the price — considerably. I looked at getting a copy some weeks ago, but with $350 asking price for their version 8 for Windows I didn’t even bother downloading the demo. A cursory look at what the app does (features) quickly lead me to conclude that 1) The app is not algorithmically complex and thus did not require considerable man-hours to implement by the coding team. 2) The app is not algorithmically complex and neither is it based on research that involved considerable man-hours by *in-house* researchers. 3) The app is banking on the fact that it is relatively unique and justifies its asking price solely on that. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can derive $350 of benefit from it. Of course, your mileage may vary.

  3. Alex says

    Aside from the cost issue (it really shouldn’t be so expensive) the number one thing that I would like to see is support for multiple parents. Most things don’t fit into a tree structure and the current implementation of “relationships” is not very elegant. I would really like to be able to create “flatter” maps with less hierarchy and better support for directly linking related ideas.

  4. Andrew Wilcox says

    Now you got me going. Really got me going.

    I have lived with the irritants in MindManager for 12 years. Here is my little list:

    Tablet PC:
    – Stylus Eraser
    – Ink colour = text colour on conversion
    – Better quality rendering of sketches after export (to web)
    – Reduce CPU load when stylus is in use. Not much use having a great app which drains your battery 4 times faster than any other large application
    – Lasso moving process takes to long. Probably related to the above – over sampling of stylus position.
    – Vista and even more Windows 7 hand writing recognition has overtaken MindManager’s ink to text conversion. I need the option to write in ink without interruption and to use the immediate conversion option you get with the tablet input panel.

    Existing Notes Editor:
    – Stabilise the table tool
    – Sort out the line wraps and double spaces that appear or do not appear in exported text
    Some I wrote earlier.
    • It has a WYSIWYG relationship with Word
    • The same text will also resolve as WYSIWYG, bar anything the CSS file imposes, when exported to the web
    • That web objects can be included such as HTML, Forms, Video, Audio, Flash etc.
    • That the notes layout will remain the same after a save
    • That tables will be stable and warn you of any illegal layouts you are trying to create
    • That optionally tables will be replaced by a div structure in the web export

    Alternative Notes Editors:
    – HTML which permits inclusion of code snippets
    – Full Word editor

    Web Exports:
    – Alt text on clickable image map links to be topic text not URL

    Installation or Repair:
    – Option to transfer Quick Access Bar settings

    These are not show stoppers because I use MindManager every day and do everything possible with it. It’s great value.

  5. Catherine Franz says

    I’ve been doing mind maps since 1967 and began using Mind Manger since it’s first version. I don’t have version 8 yet, however, one of the things I’m challenged with and it’s similar to yours is . . .

    I don’t have a table PC too expensive for me . . . but I do have a pen tablet. There isn’t any way for me to create mind maps on it, it’s frustrating. Well, I can draw a mind map but I’d like to be able to convert them into Mind Manager in some way.

    I’ve heard that the next OS system from Microsoft is suppost to be out in October and take care of this but honestly do I have to wait. And how is it going to work with Mind Manager. Probably isn’t.

    I’m disappointed in the pen tablet actually, I can’t find much software to allow me to use it the way I need it. It doesn’t work directly with Adobe Pro — you can use it’s own program items in the Pro PDF features.

    And I can’t write anything into an email — the main reason I wanted the darn thing in the first place.

    So, I don’t recommend anyone to buy a pen tablet unless they are going to draw pictures but not for mapping.

  6. Aniruddha says

    The ability to export maps to Excel spreadsheets would be something I’d use right now. I also echo Andrew’s exasperations, at least those that I experience in the notes editor.

    I practically live in MM and have done so for many years.

  7. drzeller says

    I agree with MarceloR. The price is simply too high for a personal purchase. I’ve used the demo versions on and off for years – often when I “need” the program, I load the latest demo on a machine. They’d have probably sold me versions 5-8 already if there were more affordable pricing.

    Considering there are API’s for ink recognition already in the MS tools/OS’s, skipping things like searching for text in ink and supporting the eraser are almost inexcusable in a mature product. Especially at that price.

    D.

  8. harv says

    I think the price is about double what it should be for the value it provides. I think if they lowered their price by half, they would more than double their customer base.
    I think they should not continue to add a dizzing array of overlapping features with other software becuase then it would cost a great deal to maintain, and consequently, purchase. Some things, software, should simply do what their core function is well, and then read/write to other software, for additional core functions. Keep it simple, but make it interact better.

  9. Lorie Ghamy says

    @drzeller who said :

    I agree with MarceloR. The price is simply too high for a personal purchase.

    —————————-

    For free, and personal use, you have the excellent EDRAW MindMap with same ribbon technology than Office.

    For me the best way te improve MindManager, is to download it..

    A breeze to use !

    http://www.edrawsoft.com/freemind.php

  10. Michael Deutch says

    Great discussion. I had a similar one inside Mindjet’s office yesterday with a few members of the Mindjet team. (disclaimer, I work @ mindjet).

    I used to work for a company that sold SAAS software for a $250 / month subscription. A new VP was hired and proceeded to sell the software for $250k. We were amazed, but that was when I learned about value pricing. And, how it is possible to develop and position for value.

    So, it’s easy to argue that the price could be lower. Who really wants to spend more? Alternatively, some customers map out decisions (e.g. which project to choose) that have saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions. If software was used to save a company millions, couldn’t it also be argued and justified that the price should be much, much higher?

    In the end, and I’m now speaking personally, I hope that we provide greater value than cost. But that will vary as to how you wind up using the software. Some use it to keep track of a visual to-do list, others for brainstorming. Still, others for strategic planning. Each activity represents a different value.

    For me, I’ll never stop using this technology because of the incredibly high value I place on its ability to help me think through any important task. It’s where I go to start the critical thinking process which precedes most everything that I do….writing, presenting, speaking, project planning, strategic planning, and brainstorming. For me, that’s worth much more than the price.

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