Graphics: January 2010 Archives

Mind Maps Gone Wild

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Scott McDonald on the Stuff Blog pointed out a great mind map parody on Flickr and I have to agree - it's really one messy mind map. I'll replicate the effect of this mind map in this history of English concept map (you can see the clean concept maps here).

Tree showing dialects of English in multiple colors and shapes

A few months ago, I claimed that many concept maps were unclear to me because the arrows were labeled. In the parody though, the labels are rarely labeled, yet I still read it as one hot mess. The problem here really is bad design. One, there's very little white space (because the only gap left was filled with a brain or a helmet, depending on the image).

Another is that a large multitude of shapes and color are used but not assigned a meaning. My entry did mention a comment that many maps associate different shapes with different concepts and that it may make sense to use a consistent scheme. Hmmm

Of course, we've all seen lots of happy messy mind maps full of a wild mix of shapes, images, colors and photos - like this mystery mind map from the Burnham Grammar School in the U.K. The original newsletter Web Site asks "Can you unravel the mysteries of the mind map? Clue: Year 7 trip..." My answer is alas "not very quickly."