tl;dr | Garrett Guynn

@GGuynn

Mind Maps for Visual Communication

“Mind maps are a visual way of categorizing concepts and showing relationships.”[1]

I recently came across two separate scenarios which were complex and needed to be communicated to a client before we could move forward. I am used to understanding complex relationships in information technology, but my clients often need me to communicate how I can solve their problems in a less complex manner.

Enter Mind Maps.

“Einstein once said something to the effect of, ‘you cannot solve problems by thinking within the same framework or mindset that discovered the problems.’ The implication is that you need to step into another mindset, another level of thinking. So how do we step into another mindset, as Einstein implies we should? One possible method is mind-mapping, which arguably triggers a much more natural way of thinking and problem solving.”[2]

Not only are Mind maps an effective way to communicate with clients, they also help the engineer along with the design process. By creating Mind maps, I often find difficult problems easier to solve.

Below are 2 examples of how I’ve used Mind maps to communicate and document complex strategies to meeting clients’ needs:


In this example, my client was the owner of a night club and wanted to replace her bulky computer station with something less complicated. As she often rearranges equipment and furniture at her night club, I was able to use this Mind map as both a schematic and cost estimate to her expectations. Subsequently, each label (A, B, C, etc.) references a specific wire or adapter should she need to replace any. She was given this same schematic in Web page form with each wire hyperlinked to Amazon.com where she could order the replacement parts. Also in this example, the pictures of the hardware exactly represent the models of hardware she currently owns (or is included in the refit).


In this example, my client needed to know how I could deliver content from an Inventory/Point of Sale (POS) system and publish available items onto the Web. From here the visitors would need to be able to “Socialize” around this content. This Mind map was able to communicate a project scope and could be adapted should my client’s needs change. It was also to be interrupted by the company’s in-house IT team and thus uses more technical terminology.

These Mind maps were created using MindNode; easy mind mapping for your Mac.

1. & 2. Visual Methods of Communicating Structure, Relationship, and Flow by Raj Dash: http://www.criticalthinking.org/

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One thought on “Mind Maps for Visual Communication

  1. Some of us learn and understand best with visual aids, and these are terrific examples. You’ve done a very good job of meeting your customer’s needs. I needed one of these today when I was trying to solve the problem of no Internet access! Turned out it wasn’t something I could solve, but I could have figured that out much sooner if I had a mind map of my equipment like your first example!

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