So last time we shared the results of our “honest and objective product review in an agile style“, and said that we’ve been using these to change the way we do things in something we have called Knowledge Mappers 2.0. In this post we’ll summarise what this means for end users (we’ll go into more detail about each aspect in subsequent posts).
New Map Naming System
What’s in a name? Everything if it’s a product you want for a specific purpose. That’s why we are very in favour of the “Does what is says in the tin” school of product naming.
Thus we have put a lot of thought into re-designing a system for naming our maps. Firstly it has to be robust enough to cope with the broad range of subject areas we will be covering with the new maps we will be publishing over the next few weeks.
Our naming system also needs to cope with the subtle variations between related maps, such as:-
- the level of detail (ie. the number of hierarchical levels of map branches).
- the layout of the branches (ie. how they are arranged around the central topic).
- the number of information sources that the map links to (one web source or many?).
We will go into more detail about our map naming system in a later post, but an illustration of it can be found in the image that goes with this series of blog posts about Knowledge Mappers 2.0. So what was previously our “Countries of The World Template Atlas (Geographic Layout)” map, has now become the “Countries of the World Wikipedia Webmap (BASIC ATLAS Edition) map.
New Map Icons System
One of the problems with screenshots of maps (of any sort) is they all start to look the same when shrunk down to the size of a product thumbnail image (approximately 150 x 150 pixels). We therefore knew from the start of Knowledge Mappers that we needed a different way of visually representing the maps in our mapstore, and so we devised our own series of “hand drawn” 48 x 48 pixel icons, taking a lot of our inspiration from Dan Roam and his classic book “The Back of a Napkin“.
We also knew that it would be impossible to come up with a single icon that could denote all of the subtle variations in maps listed above, and so it has always been the case that 3 icons have been combined in order to represent any map (4 when you get down to representing different file formats of the same map). However they haven’t always been used consistently, and some of them weren’t the clearest.
We’ll go into more detail about our updated iconography system in a further blog post of it’s own, but we think it has resulted in a much more colourful store front and more of a visual continuity between the products. By way of illustration we once again use the example shown in the header image for this post:-
We found that, once we had thought through a future-proof system for naming our products and visually representing them so they can be added to our store, all the other processes became much, much easier. We had created a ‘big picture’ framework, within which everything done so far, and crucially not yet done, could be placed. Thus we could see:-
- related maps we could do around an existing subject category to ‘fill in the gaps’.
- the same related series of maps. but for new subject categories.
Basically we can start making a lot more maps, confident of the whole end-to-end process from initial idea in our head (and there are a lot of those!), to final mapstore product, to marketing message to existing and potential customers.
Again we will go into more detail about our strategy for making the maps that we do in a later post. For now though look at our Coming Soon category page on the website. It lists all our maps that are currently “in production”, with the list greatly expanding over the last couple of weeks as we’ve been getting our mojo on!
More Free Maps
We have always offered free maps, but after our agile review identified that we haven’t added one to the catalogue in quite a while, we decided we needed to change our publishing model. We have now consciously adopted the freemium model. This means offering more basic, “taster” versions of our maps for free to get users started on using the great online resources we have discovered and mapped. By “basic maps” we mean fewer branches and less levels of detail.
We have yet to implement this for all the existing maps in the catalogue but will do when they are next updated. We are doing this for all the new maps we add to the store (see our new MindManager User Resource Maps below). Again we will blog about this on more detail soon but for now checkout our free maps page and get downloading!
Expanded MindManager User Resources Pages On Our Website
As experienced MindManager users we realised that there were a lot of supporting resources out there if you know where to look. However there wasn’t one place on the web where these were all documented together, so we decided to do it. Thus we now have a greatly expanded MindManager resources section on our website, with dedicated pages containing comprehensive information and all the links we could find about:-
- Versions of MindManager
- Benefits of MindManager
- Features of MindManager
- Applications of MindManager
- Official MindManager Web Resources maintained by Mindjet
- the best way to Try / Buy / Upgrade MindManager (such as using our MIVAP discount code :-))
- list of official Mindjet International Value Added Partners (MIVAPs), a global network of MindManager experts that provide an awesome range of content, training, development and consultancy to enhance your MindManager experience (a group to which Knowledge Mappers is extremely proud to belong).
- list of all the available MindManager Add-ins that extend the already awesome functionality. Currently there are 24 of them, many of which have been created by MIVAPs.
MindManager & Zapier Software Shop Categories On Our Mapstore
We have created dedicated sub-categories for MindManager and Zaper in the software category of our online store. (One of the most significant features of MindManager 2017 is the integration with the Zapier online app integration webservice to enable the automation of individual tasks and whole work-flow processes).
These provide a home for….
MindManager & Zapier User Resource Webmaps
The process of creating our MindManager webpages confirmed 2 things for us:-
- there are a lot of MindManager user resources out there.
- traditional webpages, with their fixed linear structure and navigation, and endless, endless scrolling, are not the best way of documenting a lot of information resources for general discovery.
It was time to test out our new Knowledge Mappers 2.0 map making process! And what better way for MIndManager users to discover MIndManager supporting resources than through a MindManager map – as we have always said “drill down, don’t scroll down people!”
We had used MindManager to fully map all the resource links for the newly expanded MindManager section of our website (naturally!), it’s only a few thousand links after all. So it was straightforward to turn the map into a product to add to our mapstore – our MindManager Online Resources Webmap (FULL Edition) map.
As per our new map-making system, we also:-
- made a FREE version as well (our MindManager Online Resources Webmap (BASIC Edition) map).
- made a start on helping users get the most from the new Zapier integration by mapping the Zapier.com website (see our FULL and BASIC [FREE] versions of the map).
Again we will blog in more detail about these new map products in the near future, but in the meanwhile please download our MindManager & Zapier User Resource maps and ‘get stuck in’, that’s what they’re there for! 🙂
Expanded MindManager Services Pages On Our Website
One of the problems (in a good way :-)) with MindManager is that it is so useful and can expedite so many different, every-day business tasks and processes, that it’s difficult to pin down with words every way in which we can help clients get the best from it.
Our expanding map catalogue shows what we are doing with information in the public domain for public benefit. It also shows what the benefits could be for clients by mapping their own business information. We’ve tried our best to sum it all up in our expanded MindManager Services section of the website.
A Better, More Expanded Web Presence
Finally (for now), we’ve been working on our web presence. As you can see from the above we’ve done a great deal to expand the content of our main website at www.knowledgemappers.com. However our agile review showed us that we still needed to improve several aspects of our web presence:-
Make our website mobile friendly – Our current website is starting to show its age. It is pre-HTML5 so isn’t responsive and isn’t very mobile friendly. It’s a major job changing architectures for a customised digital download store like ours, but it is on our development roadmap. Just bear with us!
Become more social – We have had a presence on social media, but it’s fair to say we haven’t really been doing much with it whilst we have been concentrating on the back-office stuff. Now that we’ve got something to say though we have re-energised our efforts on social media so we now have:-
- an updated company Facebook page
- an updated company LinkedIn page.
- a new company Twitter feed (@KnowledgeMaps)
- a new company Pinterest website, with boards for every category of maps (and it looks gorgeous!)
Keep watching those skies people!
Next Time – Knowledge Mappers 2.0 – #3 Our New Range Of Map Types In Brief