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Last updated on 12/12/19

Mind Map to Express Ideas

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Making connections through mind maps

Mind mapping is a tool for formalizing your thoughts and examining natural associations. Mind maps are cheap and easy to create in both individual and collaborative settings. They are a useful way of organizing and examining information through a different lens. Creating lists tends to make us think in a linear way, while mapping is a good way to find less likely connections and associations. In addition to writing something down, you are also processing the information and thinking critically about it.

Let's mind map OpenClassrooms!

In less than 10 minutes we can quickly capture the key aspects of OpenClassrooms. The next step would be to revise it with the help of key stakeholders.
In less than 10 minutes, we can capture the key aspects of OpenClassrooms.

Tips for mind mapping:

  • Decide on a theme or topic to explore

  • Start in the center of the page and work out

  • Work in a clockwise direction

  • Use lines and circles to capture ideas

  • Keep text succinct

  • Explore concepts in a nonlinear fashion

There are many different approaches to mind mapping. Check out this video from Stanford's d.School, which integrates both crazy and realistic ideas as a form of brainstorming. [7:48 minutes]

Now it's time for a mind mapping exercise. You're going to mind-map the person you know best - yourself! All you need is a blank sheet of paper and a marker or pen!

  1. Put your name in a circle in the middle of the page.

  2. Add a line and circle for a key theme, area of study, or expertise/interest.

  3. Add related words and ideas around the subject.

  4. Repeat steps 2-3 for all the fields that relate to you.

  5. Be sure to include UX design (or whatever career you may want to pursue in the future).

This is the mind map of your life, so feel free to update and add to it over time.

Another approach to mind mapping is to write succinct statements along the lines in order to create a web of ideas that link together. Try different techniques to see what works for you. Creative blogger Rebecca Rose Thering challenged herself to create a mind map every day for 100 days - that's something you can do, too!

In UX design, a variation of mind maps are called concept maps, which allow you to visualize the relationships between concepts. When building a website or app, concept maps can be used to imagine the key concepts you'll need to build out (think profile, key functions, photo organization, etc).  When creating one of these, it may be useful to begin with a list of all of the pages or screens that you think you will need and map their relationships.

Let's recap!

  • Mind map to formalize your thoughts and analyze relationships.

  • Revise, iterate, experiment!

  • Apply your mind mapping skills to concept maps when designing websites and apps.

  • Mind maps can be created by hand or using digital tools.

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement