How do you start a blog that you’ve been meaning to start for years but never got round to it? No matter, this is it!
So… I’m a SharePoint girl in the business of designing SharePoint solutions. Been using all sorts of methods in my workshops, the most effective up till now was to get the attendees to write User Stories on Post-it notes. However, thanks to a great Information Architecture masterclass I attended by Paul Culmsee and Andrew Woodward, I’ve now got a couple more tricks up my sleeve.
My new favourite tool is XMind! It’s a mind-mapping tool, but I generally use it for solution-mapping for SharePoint. This is the stage after you’ve discovered all the high-level objectives of the project, and before designing the wireframes (with another cool tool, but that’s for another post).
The tool is free, but I went ahead and paid for the 1-year subscription to unlock the Pro features, which I have to say haven’t benefited me as yet – I honestly don’t think it’s required for most people, so check out the features before you fork out for it!
There are a few comparable applications out there, but I’ve gotten along with XMind the best as the output is “prettier” which actually helps people better understand and visualise what you’re putting together, and in turn helps them generate more creative (but logical) ideas.
So last night I was feeling a bit bored and thought I’d try to make a current map I was working on look even prettier. I came up with a set of SharePoint 2010 markers which really helps illustrate the map better. Using these markers with the legend (can’t do without the legend!), I’ve cut down the text on my map massively as I don’t have to describe or label each site or list.
Thinking about it now, I bet others have come up with these markers for XMind too, oh well. Anyway, if you think they will help you too, click here to download it. All you need to do is import the marker file into XMind and away you go.
Naturally it’s still a work in progress, as I’ll undoubtedly be creating more markers as I come across the need for them.
I’ve included a sample map which contains a site structure with a few lists, libraries and items just to show how I’ve been using them. Happy mapping!