Mindomo (mind mapping)

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Mindomo (mind mapping) App Poster Image
Productivity tool looks great but is tricky to navigate.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Teens can learn to organize and communicate ideas, represent part-whole relationships logically, and think critically about information. Born as a brainstorming tool allowing meeting participants to combine knowledge and produce new content collaboratively, mind maps are now digital creation tools allowing teens to use and apply technology to communicate with peers, teachers, parents, and college admissions officers. This sophisticated mind-mapping freebie could use some design tweaks to improve ease of use.

Ease of Play

Navigation, menus, icons, sharing, and synchronization all look slick but can be problematic or confusing, depending on device.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mindomo (mind mapping) is a productivity app best suited to the larger screen of a tablet -- Android or iPad. Kids can use Mindomo to create relatively simple "mind map" diagrams (aka webs or visual maps), a widely used organization and communication tool. While Mindomo looks really slick and it can make some eye-pleasing maps, the interface takes getting used to and has some inherent limitations. Kids might have trouble figuring out the navigation, menus, icons, and file management without adult guidance.

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What's it about?

Users press and hold in the workspace or on topics to access many functions. With a topic selected, users can format with layouts and themes, and add notes, hyperlinks, images, icons, and task functions. Users place slide boxes in the presenter, share cloud-based maps, or export to email or Google drive (though this feature wasn't working at the time of this review). The home button provides access to file and folder management, web-based help, and account sign in for synchronization with desktops.

Is it any good?

MINDOMO is a visually appealing productivity app best suited to the larger screen of a tablet (as opposed to smart phone). It offers a lot of attractive features like design themes and layouts, integrated task tracking, presentation mode, and the ability to insert icons, hyperlinks, and images. To cloud share or email to teachers, synchronize with desktop application generated maps, or make maps public, teens can choose to create and sign in to a Mindomo account, which requires only user name and email. XML-based .mom files can be opened with the desktop version of the application. Though it requires some mental adjustments -- press and hold instead of point and click -- Mindomo offers tablet productivity with an attractive price tag (free).

On the downside, Mindomo is nearly impossible to use on Android smartphones, though it is "compatible" and will download. Basics like file and folder management, connectors, icons, and zoom in and out can be difficult and confusing, dependng on device. Font size sliders don't allow quick and precise adjustments, auto align smooshes topics together, topic size cannot be adjusted, and exported files cannot be previewed on Google Drive no matter what format. Although PDF files lose formatting, .png files come out perfectly. Considering the barriers, unless a friend introduces the idea, teens aren't likely to use Mindomo without prompting from a teacher or parent.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Plan a family vacation using a mind map.

  • Introduce mind maps into family Pictionary games.

  • Ask your teen to represent special requests like extra allowance via mind map.

App details

For kids who love homework help

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