Welcome to BrainSharper

November 21, 2011

What is this program about, you may ask. It is looking like a mind mapping tool, but the topics are not organized around a common center, and moreover, it has labels?

Well, I don’t know where this is leading to… but I want to tell you why I am building it:

I am building BrianSharper to let you organize your ideas differently. For me, mind maps are a great tool to organize to do lists and projects outlines. But due to the hierarchical nature and the fixed center of a mind map, it always felt too restrictive to capture more complex and behavioral ideas.

Some mind mapping tools attempt to overcome this restriction by introducing relationships that connect individual branches. But these solutions looked like a compromise to me and never were applicable to what I wanted to capture: Natural, graph-based structured ideas.

Eventually, I took a closer look at concept maps. Concept maps don’t seem to be widely used to organize knowledge, and obviously, they are not that popular yet. But when I took a more attentive look around the Internet, they appeared at a lot at places where complex models needed to be visualized.

Usually, concept maps are created by Power Point or simple drawing tools. Sometimes, professional tools like the Visual Understanding Environment or yEd are used to create them. These are great tools, but they are not providing the usability that makes the sharing of ideas simple in ways I do imagine.

In my opinion, concept maps reflect the very basic nature in which knowledge can be communicated between humans. That is, graphically and efficient. And that is exactly what BrainSharper should be about.

So my objective is to create a tool that enables you to communicate concepts in the simplest and fastest way possible. BrainSharper’s user interface will be designed to be discoverable, naturally to adapt to, efficient, and – whenever possible – so that it does not get in your way.

BrainSharper is in its early stages now, a prototype at best, and future versions can not be built without you. And so I hope that you are interested enough in starting a journey with me to an unknown territory where you can actively influence a tool that a lot of users will love.

Of course, I do have a commercial interest in BrainSharper. But to sell a product, there needs to be a community at first. Therefore I decided that there will always be a free version of BrainSharper with a large enough feature set for the occasional user.

If you like BrainSharper, you should subscribe to the blog via RSS, or follow BrainSharper on Twitter. And if you’d like to share some ideas, I am happy to collect them.