Mind maps are often the key to creative brainstorming. They enable individuals and groups to think in non-linear fashions that break down creative blocks and enable outside the box conceptualizations. If you’ve ever participated in a mind mapping session, you’ve probably been exposed to its most traditional method: putting magic marker to whiteboard and going nuts with ideas. The trouble with this method is that it’s not conducive to brainstorming on-the-go. Enter Mindly.
Mobile apps that enable users to mind map aren’t new. Not all of them are created equal, though, and most come with limitations that make mapping on a handheld device more difficult than it would be to just cobble together a handful of sticky notes, the way it used to be done back in the twentieth century. In the case of iOS app Mindly, however, developer Jaakko Rantanen has created an intuitive and easy to use application that doesn’t force you to endure a painful learning curve to make full use of it.
Mindly achieves the goal of high functionality with an elegant interface that makes it possible to create complex maps that don’t suffer from the limited real estate inherent with iPhones. Notes within it orbit around central concepts like satellites and can be infinitely branched out, making it so there’s almost no end to the number of hierarchies that can be created. The app’s broad palate of color schemes is a nice visual touch and organizational aid, and the app also offers an (admittedly limited) range of font sizes that can be tweaked in its settings.
Some of the app’s other nifty functions include the ability to take and insert snapshots, import existing photos from your iPhone’s camera roll, and drop in web links. It can also be synced with iCloud, ensuring no genius thought flow is ever lost to the ether. Saved mind maps can also be exported in PDF or in the original Mindly file format via email, though support for PDF, text, OPML and HTML is only available to purchasers of the app’s full version. And printer support allows you to transfer your saved files to paper, if that’s how you roll.
If you’re the kind of thinker who works better on the move, and if your brilliant ideas tend to arrive in places without a whiteboard, Mindly is just the app for you. Free to download from Apple’s App Store, an in-app purchase of Mindly’s full version is currently available for $6.99.