A different MindMapping software approach

Last week I was contacted by Cayra people. I must confess I didn´t have idea regarding the project, but after downloading and working with it, I must say it is fun enough and also it is extraordinary flexible to work with having a mindmapping concept. So I decided to interview Sergey Kashulin (Cayra´s Project Manager).

Alberto.- Why the name Cayra?
Sergey.- "Cayra" is a name of a bird (you can see it on our logo). In English this bird's name is Guillemot, but in Russian it sounds like "cayra".
The name is short, sounds nice and we think it stands out of other mind mapping applications names. They all have "Map" or "Concept" or "Mind" in it, so after you've seen or tried more than 5, you tend to forget the name of the 1st. :-)
Besides, what do you imagine when you think "bird"? Most likely, "flight", "freedom", "wings". And mind mapping can be considered as the wings for the ideas to fly. :-)

Alberto.- Where does Cayra come from?
Sergey.- Cayra project is located in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Alberto.- What fresh things does Cayra bring into the mindmapping software world?
Sergey.- First of all, it's the automatic layout for nodes on the map. When you select one node, it automatically moves into the center of a map and all other nodes are re-positioned. This approach allows you to view the map from different angles, because every time you click on a particular node, it becomes the central one and you can see all its relations. It is very important when you want to create a map that has lots of inner connections between nodes. Imagine you want your 1st node to be connected with 2nd and 3rd. Then, you want the 3rd also to be connected with 4th and 5th, 5th - with 1st and 2nd.. and now imagine positioning it all on the map manually, in the way that your map'd look comprehensible. Quite a complicated task, even for 5-10 nodes, so imagine if you have more than 30 and they are all connected? That's why we implemented the automatic layouting.
Still we're aware it is not always needed and sometimes even can get in the way if you just want to create a simple map with nodes that don't change their position every time you click on them. That's why we're now working on "Lock the map" feature, that will allow to create "stable" maps.
Second thing that distinguishes Cayra from other mind mapping software is this certain freedom that it offers. Say, if you want to create a simple, tree-like mind map - you can do it. But if you want your map to be complex with lots of connections between nodes, with links that say what kind of connection they denote (we call it "link types") - you can do that as well.

Also if you want your map to tell more than just nodes and how they are connected, you can use parameters feature. It's a new thing that we have added to the last version (0.9) and I think it shouldn't go unnoticed, because now you can visualize much more details about objects on your map - be it people or tasks or ideas.
You can add Date, Time, Yes/No parameter (e.g. for tasks within a project), or you can add Text and Numeric parameters (e.g. if you need to see how much or what kind of tasks your employee has), and you can make it visible or invisible on the node.. Quite a lot of choice, I think :-)

Alberto.- Which are, in your opinion, the keys from Cayra?
Sergey.- I would say, these "fresh" things are also the keys, because they are what makes Cayra remarkable and what we put most effort into.
And, of course, the fact that Cayra is free.

Alberto.- Which will the next project steps be?
Sergey.- We plan to launch the web-service that will allow viewing and editing maps online. Right now there's a tendency towards the merge of desktop and web applications and we want to be the part of that. I think it is most natural - after you've created a map you might want to share it with someone - your colleagues, business partners, friends. So our next step is to offer this opportunity.

Alberto.- Talking about you, Sergey, how do you get involved in mind mapping techniques?
Sergey.- I first heard of mind mapping on a NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) forum. At that time I thought it was yet another way to memorize stuff. But later it turned into a great helping tool for outlining ideas I don't want to forget. I have tried several mind and concept mapping applications and found out that most of them didn’t quite have what I needed from this kind of software. So I realized it was time to create an application that will try to address these needs.

Alberto.- In your opinion, which are the main advantages of using mind mapping in both personal and professional life?
Sergey.- I think mind maps are so effective because they visualize what you need to see, whichever it might be – tasks, ideas, goals, etc. This, in its turn, brings clearness and helps to make a decision or put ideas into action.
Another important thing about mind maps is that they work for better mutual understanding, flattening the difference in interpretation and in general producing less confusion.
So basically mind maps bring more intelligibility and clearness into my life (both personal and professional) making it more organized and balanced - and therefore happier. :-)

Take a look at Cayra Webpage.

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