Creating a mindmap can be an effective way to brainstorm and organize your thoughts. But if it's your first time creating one, it can be tricky to know where to start. Here are eight tips to help you create a mindmap that works for you.
#1: Get Started
You don't need to be incredibly artistic or have an eye for design. Your mindmap is meant to help you organize your thoughts and brainstorm new ideas, not become the next Mona Lisa. So even if it looks very rudimentary, just get started! There are more important things than worrying about minor details.
#2: Choose The Right Medium Through A Mind Map Maker
There are many ways to create a mindmap, from using online tools like Mindomo, pen, and paper, whiteboards - even using a spreadsheet program. But whatever medium you choose as long as you can make sense of it as a viewer as well as how it all fits together logically then that's good enough for us! In fact, we suggest going with whatever comes naturally first. If you like using paper, do it! If you prefer the flexibility of online tools, go for it.
#3: Use The Right Layout For You With Mind Map Tool
There are many different layout options that can be used to create a mindmap. Again, take your personal preferences into account when deciding on which layout will work best for you. And don't be afraid to experiment with different layouts until you find one that works well. (You'll also probably change your mind about what kind of layout is best over time.) Also, consider how much information will need to fit in your mindmap? Will there be so much content that have bubbles connected by lines that won't work? Or maybe arranging all the points around a center would make sense? Use this as a guide for how to layout the information on the page.
#4: Geographic Vs. Linear Mindmaps
Depending on your approach, mindmaps can be laid out either geographically or linearly. In geographical mindmaps, the starting point is usually at the center of the map and all other thoughts radiate from there in a circular way. On the other hand, for linear mindmaps, you start with one idea and label it accordingly before moving on to another directly connected thought. For example, if your first topic is "computers" then under this heading would go any subtopics such as laptop computers, desktop computers, and the like. If you decide to arrange your main ideas according to geography, keep in that coming up with new ideas can be easier if your mindmap is laid out linearly.
#5: Label Each Node
This may seem like a no-brainer but too many people don't take the time to properly label each and every node (i.e., bubble). If you want your mindmap to make sense to other people, then they will need to clearly understand what each of the bubbles means. Remember that other people could see it as well or even use it for other purposes such as presenting information in another way to others. So again (isn't this becoming a common theme?), how will anyone know what your particular labels are trying to communicate without being fully labeled?
#6: A Mind Map Online Can Create Two Dimensional Mind Maps
When you create a mind map, it's common to have the main topic/headline shown at the top of a page or document. This is fine but remember that this will show up again and again on every node connected from there. For example, if your starting seed idea is "computers", then all other ideas branching off from there would appear below this label before moving onto another idea. If you want something that pops out more visually, try creating multiple branches from one specific node instead of just adding new nodes below it. For example, if your first topic were computers, then create two branches coming off from both sides: one for laptops and another for desktops (see image). Now when viewers open up the mind map, it's not just a flat page of all your ideas, but one that gives viewers an idea of what is in store for them: computers!
#7: Keep It Organized & Don't Forget That Each branch Has A Parent
Keeping things organized is important when creating a mind map. Start with the main branch and follow it all the way down to its end; if there are no children, then don't be afraid to connect it back up to its parent node. Also, try not to lose sight of your cursor's location on the screen. Keep track of where you are by constantly checking back at what node you're currently on (i.e., which bubble has the blue circle around it). If you get lost somewhere in your line of thought or can't decide on what idea or branch to take next, just start over again: delete that last node that leads into another topic/idea and put your previous topic/idea back in front of you.
#8: Have Fun With It By Including An Infographic
It doesn't have to be all text-based. If you want to spice things up a bit, why not include an infographic? For example, if someone were reading about your trip to Hawaii and you wanted him or her to know what time of the year it is there (in case they plan ongoing), include a simple graphic showing the locations of Hawaii throughout the year (see image). Now instead of just typing out "Hawaii...tropical climate...plethora of fruit trees", you can visually show this information with one quick click!
Now that you know the basics of how to create a mind map, it's time to get creative. Follow these eight tips for creating your own mind map from scratch and make sure not to skip any steps! You can also use Venngage's Mind Map Maker tool to help you brainstorm ideas or organize them into meaningful sections. Don't forget about our free infographic templates section, too!