Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Great online collaboration tool

Google Drive and Google Docs have made online collaboration easier than ever before. Google Docs allows many people to edit a single copy of a single document at the same time, and allows each person to see the other's cursor's as well as his/ her own, at all times when the document is open. 

Now, Mindmeister, which is a Chrome browser plug-in that integrates with Google Drive, carries this a step further. It allows multiple persons to edit or work on a single mind-map. This is mind-blowing. It allows, for example, multiple persons working on a large project, to create a mind-map of the project and keep updating progress on the tasks of the project - the updates become automatically visible to all those entitled to share that project tracking mind-map document. What's more, it supports entering percentage of work completion on every task. Any other digital artifacts related to each task etc., can also be uploaded and shared.  A task can be configured to remind you or other persons with the project is shared, of tasks to be done on a daily basis - making it akin to having a secretary. I might add, that it brings slick graphics to mind-mapping. Compared to Mindmeister, open source tools like Freeplane and Freemind, in terms of graphics, seem very basic.

Best of all - you can try all the features for free, and decide whether or not to subscribe much later. This will allow you to play around and imagine a 100 ways of being able to use Mindmeister before agreeing to become a paid subscriber. There are three subscription plans to choose from, none of them very expensive, compared to the benefit one can get from using it. Once you experience collaborative working on Mindmeister, you will really want it - so be forewarned!

They even have iOS and Android apps to allow you to view the mindmaps while on the go. I have tried the Android app, and it works great for viewing even very large mindmaps, but I haven't yet used it to actually create or edit the mind-maps yet, at the time I write this. 

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