I think better when I can draw it out. Over the years I have used, become addicted to (and probably annoyed people) with my Omnigraffle project design maps. Here are a few examples of the kinds of maps I have used with colleagues and students in the early development of a highly collaborative project involving social software (beta tools mainly), many partners and various objectives.
The essential features for me are:
- easy to use and flexible (with features like: drag, drop, move, hide)
- exportable to different formats
- shareable: which is only possible with Omnigraffle and Novamind if other collaborators have the software installed – however the web based tools only require an account sign up (easy and straight forward).
I find that the mind mapping tools are most useful when brainstorming about the various pieces/ perspectives related to a single concept or theme. The other visual mapping tools (like Gliffy or Omnigraffle) tend to be most useful in looking at relationships between things/themes/components.