iThoughtsHD Review: Five-Star Mind Mapping App for Brainstorming Ideas, Organizing Thoughts, Taking Notes, & More!
When I was assigned a review of iThought HD — a mind-mapping app designed to help plan out projects, papers, and processes using a visual and colorful flow-charting system — I figured there was only one way to review it: Plan out my review within the app. So I did.
iThoughtsHD is an app designed to make mind-mapping and casual flow-charting into an almost creative experience. Using its interface, it’s possible to create task lists; brainstorm ideas; plan projects or events; establish and organize goals; take notes in a meeting or class; and anything else that might benefit from a visual idea map.
Right from the get-go, the high quality of this app shows. It’s a very easy to pick up, intuitive to use app. There’s a row of buttons for creating ideas, an organizational system that keeps them neatly arranged, and an uncluttered interface that lets you get right to the task of mapping your ideas. All of the touch controls are smooth and responsive, and entering data is as easy as tapping any bubble. Within a few minutes, I was laying out the basic structure of this review.
Very quickly, I found myself wanting to specialize things — the position and shape of containers, the color of various sections, etc. So I dug into the various formatting options, and I was once again fairly impressed by what I found. The system allows for shape, color and font variation (but not font size, sadly), allowing you to color code and/or shape code things on different levels, or within different groups; or to set color boundaries to further differentiate divisions of ideas. By turning off the Auto Arranging feature (something I highly recommend after you get used to the interface), you really begin to get the ability to move things around. There’s a lot of little options here, and it may take you a little while to get comfortable with all of them; but once you begin thinking in terms of what iThoughtHD offers, you quickly get creative.
And that’s where I think iThoughtsHD really gets it right. Mind-mapping needs to be a very visual and very creative endeavor. It requires organization, sure, but it also needs to be a little loose and sloppy at times — the very idea of mind mapping is to try ideas out, to move things around, to discover connections and arrangements. The devs here get that; and so iThoughtsHD can be very organized, but it can also be loose and colorful and creative if you need it to be. The controls are simple enough that they don’t get in the way of this; yet the options are deep enough that they don’t often feel stifling, either.
And then when you’re done, iThoughtsHD offers a stunning array of export options. You can turn your mind map into a PDF, a PNG, or a dozen other specialized formats; and you can export it to e-mail, to another app (like iBooks or GoodReader), to a number of the most popular cloud apps, etc. There’s no way you won’t be able to share your plan with others, if you need to.
There are some things I’d love to see here, most of them expansions of the existing creative options. More fonts, for example, both in terms of typeface and font size; more shapes, such as callout boxes for all the standard flowchart forms; and the ability to resize images once inserted. These would help improve the app further.
Honestly, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with this app. I don’t think I’ll be using it to plot out reviews on a regular basis — I can pretty much figure those out in my head — but for larger projects, this could be very helpful. If you’re seeking a good mind-mapping app for your iPad, you should seriously consider iThoughtsHD.
Our Score: 5 out of 5