From breaking down client briefs and doing research to developing concepts, making revisions, and presenting the final design. Every design process constitutes several steps and stakeholders. As a designer. Suppose you find yourself scrambling through notes or making sense of scattered ideas. It’s time to bring order to the chaos. In this article, you’ll see how to use mind maps to improve your design process.
Go beyond the traditional ways of working and turn to more practical tools that can help streamline your design process and improve efficiency. Mind maps are one such tool.
A mind map is a visual thinking tool that lets you capture and organize ideas in a diagram. The main idea is placed in the center, with supporting ideas branching out from it.
Let’s look at how you can use it to enhance your design process and become a more productive designer.
1 Brainstorm ideas
Ideation is at the heart of the design thinking process, and brainstorming is one of the techniques. It requires you to generate as many ideas as possible.
Whether you’re brainstorming individually, with your team, or even working remotely — if your brainstorming session involves jotting down ideas in a linear fashion, you might want to consider a more productive approach.
Using bubble maps to brainstorm ideas is a great way to organize, connect, and group ideas. It helps you take a holistic approach while ideating and generate a multitude of ideas.
Here’s an example of a bubble map template you can use to visualize your ideas. Notice how the template makes use of color-coding to differentiate between the different idea buckets.
2 Organize your research to improve the design process
According to a Telepathy article: ‘design research allows for the exploration and definition of highly abstract concepts. It reduces guesswork, miscommunication, and inefficiencies in the development process through prioritizing early-stage testing and definition’.
This shows the critical role research plays in the design process.
How does mind mapping help here? First, it enables you to identify research opportunities or organize your research data.
For example, let’s say you’re a UX designer and want to conduct user research. You can use a mind map to outline survey questions and further build upon them with your findings from the research.
Doing this gives you a bird’s eye view of the situation, helping you identify gaps and implement learnings while designing.
Here’s an example of a buyer journey map you can use to categorize the different stages.
3 Illustrate the design project plan
Considering the extent of planning, coordinating, and expectation management involved, designers are also expected to be good project managers.
Once you’ve finalized the design project plan with your team, it’s important to communicate with your internal stakeholders or clients.
This is where you can use a project management mind map to visualize the project and highlight the steps involved while ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Here’s an example of a project mind map that outlines the project’s goals and uses colored boxes to differentiate every step.
4 Present the design concept to improve the design process
You might have developed a brilliant design concept, but if you fail to present it effectively, there’s no way your client is going to give you the green flag.
A strategy mind map is an impressive way to communicate strategy, present concepts, and improve comprehension while keeping readers engagement. So, use it in your client presentation or report to break down the overarching concept and provide context.
This helps the client understand the thought process behind your strategy, making it easier for you to convince them.
In addition, here’s an example of a strategy map template that breaks down information into manageable chunks. So, it lets readers see the big picture.
The takeaway: use mind maps to improve your design process
From the ideation stage to the client presentation, mind maps can be used for various purposes along the design process.
In conclusion, when correctly, they prove to be effective visualization tools. That not only aid comprehension but also improve productivity and team collaboration.
Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she’s not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows.