mctrexler
I worry that it's easy to get caught in the bubble we tend to operate in day to day, and working with TheBrain is no exception. I've been working with it for years and am relatively comfortable with it. But because I'm constantly interacting with people outside TheBrain bubble I hear a lot of feedback that others may not hear. When I mentioned to TheBrain folks that the dominant reaction I get to TheBrain (at least my Brains!) is a negative one, they were surprised. "Haven't heard that before."  

Since I happened to get an email from a good friend this morning on exactly this topic, someone I've been trying to pull into the Brain bubble for a couple of years, I thought it would be useful to share:

"I think that the visual element is very challenging. It’s just not visually friendly. That can be overcome with one on one hand-holding, but that’s absurdly time intensive and will not allow you to scale quickly. I think if this was more visually friendly it would remove a lot of the barriers to adoption.  It just looks hard. It needs to be perceived as EASY. Happy to talk more about this. I truly believe this is the biggest barrier."

I would like to see those of us in TheBrain community tackle this issue more directly, rather than assume it away.  The win for TheBrain could be huge!  

Mark
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danlandrum

Mark,

Your friend is right when saying TheBrain isn't quickly scalable, but its usefulness, for me anyway, comes in organic growth rather than looking at it like a spreadsheet into which a massive csv list can be imported. I think the overall look and feel isn't right for everyone. It would be interesting to know if there's a typical user that could be identified. I understand why the folks at TB wouldn't want to release that, even if they knew. 

I would also like to be better able to address the issue of perceived ease of use and overall awesomeness when trying the sell someone on the TheBrain. Do you have any suggestions as to how that could be improved? 

OSX 10.13 
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
3.3 GHz Intel Core i5
32 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
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pthompson
Mark,

Thanks for sharing thoughts from a different perspective. We appreciate this kind of feedback to help us improve the future of TheBrain.
Patrick Thompson
TheBrain Technologies
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pvonk
As a teacher for over 40 years I've learned that there are different mindsets - those who think visually, those who see data linearly, and those who are naturally abstract. TheBrain is more visual, more so than other "database" apps. You can't please all mindsets!
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mctrexler
danlandrum wrote:

I would also like to be better able to address the issue of perceived ease of use and overall awesomeness when trying the sell someone on the TheBrain. Do you have any suggestions as to how that could be improved? 



Dan, you're right that it would be very useful to actually understand from focus groups how different people respond to TheBrain and why. And just as importantly, whether there is anything that can be done to bring reluctant people on board. It would be a fruitful research project for TheBrain folks, but I'm not sure they realize that (given the nefarious bubble!).  

I think that right now (at least for Webbrain) we're stuck with trying to organize information in a way people won't find scary.  As I've covered extensively in other posts Webbrain, being just a shadow of desktop Brain, is a very poor ambassador for the Brain concept. But it's all we have.  

Mark
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enkidu
We've gone through this issue before in different topics, but your "bubble" approach is more compelling.

The problematic fact is that the UI is TheBrain's strong AND weak point :
the active force-directed layout is STRONG
the "looks" are weak / "visually challenging" / whatever

When planning version 9, a good approach would have been to formalise forum member's feedback.
I'm pretty sure TheBrain team has done that. We'll see when we have a beta ..

cross me fingers
enkidu

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Steeph
pvonk wrote: As a teacher for over 40 years I've learned that there are different mindsets - those who think visually, those who see data linearly, and those who are naturally abstract. TheBrain is more visual, more so than other "database" apps. You can't please all mindsets!

While perhaps more visual, I find it is very much for the abstract minded people. I consider myself one and that's why I like it so much. And that is exactly why it is challenging for lots of people I think. Most people are not abstract inclined so to speak (that's what I think though). And that's why it's so hard to make something like this visually simple and clear to use.

So it doesn't look hard, it is hard. Manipulating and storing abstract stuff clashes with visual friendliness. How to solve that, I don't know, I'm not visually inclined.
PB user since 1998

Mind over matter?
I don't mind and it doesn't matter.
TB 8.0.2.1 Pro on Win10.1 Pro 64bit JVM 1.8.0-112
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ratthing
I had a similar experience recently.  I was presenting some information on a screen to a small group of folks.  When the screen came on my Brain was up there in all it's glory.  A man sitting up front exclaimed, "Wow, look at that old-school interface!".  The lady sitting next to him said, "Yeah, that's really old software! What is it?"
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zenrain
TheBrain is a completely different interface from most other software, and people without any experience with Mind Mapping software have double the hurdles to overcome. Coming from Evernote, OneNote or some other linear solution would be quite a leap.

I would agree that TheBrain interface leans towards visual and abstract thinkers. I also think that there's room for improvement, both in the visual presentation ("wow, look at that old-school interface" *cough*) and also exploring what makes TheBrain intimidating to new users.
One thing that comes to mind is it's especially intimidating if people are looking at a brain you have created for yourself. One thing that may help is walking them through creating their own brain and thoughts.

Then again, folks at TheBrain do offer a Weekly 101 webinar, this would be a good thing to refer your friend to. This would also be a good thing for the folks at TheBrain to explore during those 101 classes (what makes sense, what doesn't, how could they help it be more intuitive etc.)

macOS 10.12.5
TheBrain 9.0.219
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enkidu
Hello

while looking on google play for a mindmap app for someone else's tablet, I came across this :

http://www.buildyourmap.com/

I don't know how I could possibly NEVER have come across what looks like another major mindmapping application. Desktop AND mobile.

For me it's particularly relevant to this discussion because (some will laugh) it's the ONLY OTHER software I found that has auto-layout feature, like TheBrain.
The interface is more more "modern"looking" (whatever TF that means) but the thoughts are too cluttered for my taste. However, it does have the "network diagram" feature.
Also, importantly, it exports to CSV ...

Worth a look for inspirational purposes.
Let the comments forth !

cheers
enkidu






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mctrexler
I hadn't run across this program either.  Interesting.  It looks like it's only been in development for a couple of years, which is probably why we haven't seen it. 
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