Mindmapping on the iPad: iThoughtsHD versus DropMind

Just wanted to share a recent post for DropMind iPad version. The text was originally written by Jan Schultink on the Slide Magic blog.

Triggered by the iPad touch interface, I started to use mind mapping for the first time in presentation design. Mind mapping is a process in which you jot down ideas and the connections between them quickly, and edit, clean up and move things around later to get a more organized picture. I must say, it works a lot better than my previous approach: the paper and pencil old school style. Especially because I am good at losing paper notes I really need.

I purchased two iPad apps: iThoughtsHD and DropMind. iThoughtsHD was designed specifically for the iPad and is cheaper of the two ($10 vs. $50 for DropMind). The DropMind app is an extension of an existing suite of desktop and web applications. The latter probably explains why it took a relatively long time for DropMind to come out with the app – a working iOS 4.2 version only appeared last week in the app store.

While reading my impressions, remember that I am a light-weight mind mapper, just using it to structure ideas for a presentation. Reading around on the Internet it looks like mind mapping is a whole design approach taking things much further than I do.

For my purposes, iThoughtsHD works perfectly fine. The interface is straightforward and clean, and it is very easy to export mind maps to PDF or sync them using a Dropbox account.

DropMind’s user interface looks a little bit more sophisticated and with more graphical options. When you buy the iPad app, they also offer a perpetual license for the desktop client and the web app. You can exchange mind maps between the applications. There is a wide arsenal of tools available that I did not have time to explore.

One of DropMind drawbacks is that when you export a map to PDF or JPG, the resolution seems to be very low (this was not an issue with iThoughtsHD). I think this is a bug, or maybe I did not configure the settings correctly.

The bottom line is: for basic presentation outline scribbles, iThoughtsHD works just fine and costs a lot less than DropMind. Personally, I tend to favor the DropMind app, because of the cross-platform integration and the ability to start using some of the more sophisticated tools available once I have come up the learning curve (on the condition that they fix the resolution of the exported images).