Diagrams on paper are cool, but diagrams on the internet are cooler. This is where Bubbl.us comes into play. Bubbl.us is a mind-mapping product aimed towards literally anyone who needs help organizing their thoughts or any untidy information. Powered by Flash, Bubbl.us makes it easy for anyone to quickly start planning and sorting out their ideas through the use of linked text bubbles. Each bubble of information is connected to its preceding parent bubble and color coordinated accordingly for hierarchy sake. Using the mouse wheel or the side tool bar allows for easy zooming in and out of your mind-maps. Also added to the tool bar is workspace positioning and setup styles, however most will find that holding the left mouse button and dragging is a much more convenient way of moving around the work area.
You begin with a parent bubble. Pressing Tab creates another bubble in the same color and level of hierarchy as the bubble you tabbed from. Pressing Enter in a bubble will create a new level of hierarchy with a different colored bubble. Naturally, levels of the bubble tree are connected with lines and are movable around the workspace while remaining connected to each other. Each bubble also has an “Unpin” function. This resets all bubbles that you might have moved back under its appropriate parent. Bubbl.us also has an amusing deletion confirmation for each bubble you wish to omit. Once you press the X in the corner of a bubble a counter will begin counting down from three to zero as the line connecting the bubble to its parent acts as a lit fuse. Once it reaches zero the bubble will blow up in a cloud of fire. Neat.
Saving and loading is simple and fast. The navigation found on the right of the website is neatly made and holds all your current projects. Multiple brainstorming projects can be saved to folders in the side bar and loaded again at any time. Of course you’re also able to rename any of your projects using the side menu. Directly above the side menu is the link to edit your account information if necessary as well. A printing function has also been implemented so that your newly mapped out ideas can be printed out whenever you wish. They have included options for printing to the minimum height and width of your bubble tree, or simply a full screen print. Simply zoom out/in to what you feel is presentable, then print. There’s no hassle.
Frankly I loved Bubbl.us. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s helpful. It’s not meant to be a complex, and it’s not looking to win the most thorough mind-mapping application of the year. It’s meant for prompt, on-the-spot organization, and in this respect it passes with flying colors. With the recent disappearance of the mind-mapping application Mayomi, Bubbl.us is a good substitute if not a primary information structuring tool to aid you in your brainstorming and planning.