What you can do in ContextMinds - shown in a simplified example
After you open your first whiteboard to create a map, start by clicking the big plus button.
Add the first concept: some broad topic.
What you see next is a dialog for adding topics or keywords (we call them concepts) to your board. You type what’s on your mind in the text box and check the suggestions below.
You can either select one (or more if you hold CTRL) of the suggested concepts or just hit the Add button to add exactly what you typed.
When you select a concept, check suggested information about it in the right part of the window to decide whether it is what you want on your board.
Say we want to brainstorm some content on procrastination. The best is to start from the broad topic and then add subtopics.
Brainstorm related topics and keywords
Add the suggested topic to the board, and ContextMinds will give us suggestions of related concepts below it. By default, it’s a mix of related topics (sometimes the relatedness is quite far-fetched to fuel your creativity) and keywords.
Now is the time to select anything that seems relevant or valuable. Like in classic brainstorming, don’t overthink about whether it is a good idea at this moment; just drag everything you like to the board. You can sort it out in the following steps. Again, hold CTRL or the command key to select multiple concepts and drag them all at once.
If you need more suggestions, hit the Load more at the end of the list. Don’t forget to use scrolling to see everything. (I am talking to you on Macbooks who don’t see the scrollbar 😊)
Filter as needed
You can also use the filter to ask only for the general topics or more specific keywords. General topic suggestions will expand the scope of your content and include everything necessary in your context. Keywords and questions will give you specific content ideas based on what people type in search engines.
After gathering enough concepts, it’s time to look at them in more detail.
Whenever you select a concept on the map, you see suggested articles from the web or even a Wikipedia definition in the concept detail on the right. You can pin any of these suggestions to save them for later or add your own notes there. (I am sure you find the right buttons yourself, let’s keep it brief here.)
When you have a concept selected, the related concept suggestions get narrowed down to those directly related to what you selected. Without a selected concept, you see general suggestions related to everything you have on the board.
Keep adding things to the board - any time you come up with some idea or discover a topic through the research, add it to the board.
As you think more about what you gathered and research the related articles, you’ll get ideas on how to group or connect the topics. Here is what you can do:
- You can drag the concepts around your whiteboard as you like.
- If you drag one concept over another, you can place it inside it as a subtopic.
- And you can link the topics according to how they are related – use the “Link to other button” to create labeled links or drag the little arrow next to the concept to create a simple unlabeled link (you can always add a label later).
Say that in our example, we wanted to come up with a pillar page about Procrastination linking to some pages covering specific subtopics. The result might look like this: (notice I hid the suggestions panel to make more space)
Watch some videos (https://cminds.me/intro-video) to see how that is done.
You can share this with anyone using the Share button and sending them the link. No login is needed; they will see a read-only view with an option to create a copy, edit and send you back – if they log in. You can also export the map as an image or a PDF file – hit the cogged wheel button and go to “Map actions.”