I remember when Inspiration and mind mapping was the beez-neezs. It was smartly devised and it worked pretty darn well but it was expensive (still is). I first encountered Inspiration in university and have seen it popping up here and there ever since. Now, even though Inspiration is still available ($59.00 for a single license) and it still works it is definitely not worth the price.
So what happened? Is it lousy now? I haven’t used the latest version but I hear it still works pretty well. Does it lack in features? Not from what I understand. So what’s the dealee-oh? The problem is there are plenty of online FREE options and I’m going to be talking about one of them today – spiderscribe.net so click on past the break to see all the mind mapping goodness . . . for free!
What’s a mind map?
Mind maps are another way for people to organize a lot of information. Check out some images of mind maps below to see what I’m talking about.
You’ve probably seen one of these guys before.
So Inspiration was a way to do this on a computer and it works pretty well and they’ve been doing it for a long time which is why they can charge a hefty sum for its software. The good news is there are a lot of other options that are out their, web based, free and can do pretty much the same. I’ve used quite a few but my favorite (right now at least) is Spiderscribe.
First go to www.spiderscribe.net and sign up for an account.
It will take you to this page where you need to give them your name, email address, password and select your account (more on those later). A personal account is defaulted and that is the free one so hooray!
Then click Create my account and you’re off
After you’ve been logged in this is what you will see for the first time. Let’s break it down shall we?
I am not sure if I need to explain too much here so let’s get our feet. Go ahead and click + Create New Map. A window will pop up asking you to name it and give it a description.
Once you’ve got a blank mind map it’s time to get familiar with the tools you have at your disposal.
On the left hand side you have your toolbar where you can add a number of things.
To add one of these elements to your mind map, simply drag the icon onto the workspace and you’re ready to get started. Here is the demo that comes with each account.
As you can see it is pretty awesome but the best part is yet to come.
The best part of Spiderscribe (in my opinion) is its sharing options. You can share a mind map to as many people as you want. It’s easy to do in the upper right hand corner.
This box will appear. All you have to do is add their email address. Then you can decide if they can just view it or if they can edit.
If they can edit it, both (or how many people are editing) can edit together IN REAL TIME! Yep, when one person makes a change all the other people will see it in real time. It is a great tool for collaboration and great for keeping groups of people on the same page. This is what makes Spiderscribe so special.
The different types of accounts
You have three choices of account and here are the differences.
- Personal – Totally free. You can make unlimited public mind maps (just because their public doesn’t mean others can mess with them though). You also create 3 private maps, you have 3 mb of storage space (which is plenty if you’re using only text) and you can share any of your maps with other Spiderscribe users
- Pro – $5/month ($12 for 3 months) gets you unlimited public and private maps. You can still share your maps with any other Spiderscribe users and you get 2GB of storage space (holy cow that’s a lot)
- Business – $25/month gets you pretty much everything the Pro account gives you plus you can create unlimited users and you get a whopping 10GB of storage space.
Inspiration is fine, but why pay $50 when Spiderscribe can give you most of those features for free. It’s not super perfect but it gets the job done and it gets it done well. What do you have to lose? Go over to Spiderscribe.net and make your own free account and give it a try for yourself. The comment section is eagerly awaiting your take on this service.