Saturday, November 12, 2016

Triggers to search for a new mindmapping tool

I've used mind mapping tools for years, and recently my go-to choice has been Mindmup. I've used it in most of my public exploratory testing presentations and usually having at least a few people come check the name of the tool again after the talk. I've been surprised they did not know about usefulness of electronic mind mapping in exploratory testing.

As always, this Thursday I clicked on to to get to the tool and opened a map for my mob to use as note taking tool while demoing mob testing.

The tool had been updated to a visually new version, which mildly annoyed me, but I take that as just not liking tools I like change. There were no problems during the session, the group created a map and all was fine.

After the session, I proceeded to do what I always do: save the map in my gdrive collection of maps different sessions have created. And I couldn't do it - all I was getting was an upsetting info of buying Mindmup Gold.

That sparked both a tweet of frustration that Mindmup twitter account quickly picked up without hashtags or mentions.

Later, I was forced to pair with a friend to "solve my problem with saving the mind map". I wasn't particularly happy. I just wanted to change tools. In the world of options, I felt it was time to move on. If nothing else, the pairing revealed two things:

  • Where I went wrong with ending up with a map I couldn't save as I wanted to
  • How to work around not being able to save as I wanted to
Where I went wrong?

Nowadays, I have several clicks more to go through to get to a new map than in the old version. There's a landing page first. Then there's a page with buttons to start a map. And finally I'm in a map. 

Unsurprisingly, I wasn't particularly keen on looking at the new screens or paying attention. So when I thought the second screen had two buttons, it actually had five. 

I never realized that I should have chosen a storage option before creating a map, as that was conceptually different from previous versions of this product, but also most of other products I use. I create and I save - in that order. I don't plan on saving before creating.

The workaround

Instead of being able to save to gdrive, I could now export a map. And probably I could save the exported map on my gdrive, yet I ended up importing it to a map using gdrive as storage option. 

So? What now?

I'm still upset after two days, even if I'm more calm than before. I very much dislike the extra clicks, and I'm ready to pay for my mapping tool. I'm looking into options. I was recommended Coggle or MIndmeister, and I'm now playing with those to see if I like them. I'm probably going to check Xmind if I would go back to it.

Or, maybe I'll feel differently soon. 

The experience, however, is showing me how I deal with software frustration. One annoys me and I'm paying for the others. That's kind of funny.  


  1. Ah, so I was not the only one feeling frustrated. I have been using mindmup for a long time and it is (was) my preferred tool so far, but I had very much similar experience with the new version. I use SimpleMind on my android tablet which I find quite useful. Otherwise, XMind is a good tool and I am leaning towards it now.

  2. it's nice to have users that are so passionate about a tool to blog when there's a problem. granted, we need to work a bit more on the onboarding process, but 2.0 is designed for fewer clicks, not more, when you want to use drive. the trick is not to even think about using any more, but just the drive web interface.

    once you set up 2.0 to work with your drive, you should just be able to right-click on a folder inside drive, select New->MindMup 2.0, and create a new mind map. click on a map inside the drive web app and you'll edit it. no need to go to any more.