Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Caught in a Web of Collaborative Concept-Mapping

I always knew this day would arrive. After being a dedicated user of Inspiration software for almost two decades and having seen related services such as Cayra, CMap, FreeMind, Mind42, Mindmeister, and Mindomo pop up on the web, I wondered when Inspiration would follow suit and unveil its own flavor of collaborative concept-mapping tool. Well, the wait is over. It's finally here.

After signing up for a beta account and playing around with the resource, I was able to generate a concept map in pretty short order. The experience was not unlike using Inspiration. That's a definite plus. For example, the user-interface for the original, offline version looks like this:

The newer, online version of the product is very similar to its predecessor. There's not much more a user must learn in order to get started. Tinkering with Webspiration is relatively easy as the trappings are pleasingly familiar. The web version of the user-interface looks like this:

It's easy to migrate to Webspiration. As with Inspiration, users are able to switch to outline mode at any time, a feature that other online mapping resources haven't fully mastered at this point. That said, I am puzzled about one aspect of the new version. Webspiration currently lacks Inspiration's ability to automatically rearrange symbols in a concept map into configurations such as Top-Down or Right-Tree diagrams like the original program does. I'm confident that users will want this functionality.

Still, Webspiration is in its beta iteration. There are bound to be a few kinks that'll need to be ironed out.

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1 comment:

Don said...

I'm Don Helfgott, CEO and co-founder of Inspiration Software. Thank you for reviewing our newly released beta version of Webspiration. We plan on releasing new features about once a month. Friday we will release our next version which will include a new "chat" feature. Since this is a web application the new feature will just "magically" appear (no install required!).
The "Arrange" feature you mention is missing is certainly on our list of features to do so please stay tuned...