Email bag: project setup

Monday, February 23, 2009

A customer recently wrote asking about how to use Curio to manage a large project which would normally be driven by a single, long multi-page outline. He was wondering about how to lay out this outline, how it would render, how to share this kind of project, and if he should change his normal approach to project management to take advantage of Curio's features.

Here's my response:
Curio is more like a graphical layout application than an outlining application or word processor, so you're in charge of pagination and things like that. Curio simply renders the list/mindmap/image/text where you put it.

I would wholeheartedly think about creating multiple outlines instead of one big outline. I think that's one concept that is a bit difficult to grasp for new Curio users, but very liberating when put into practice. Remember you can have an unlimited number of idea spaces, each containing one or more outlines, all within the same project.

In OmniOutliner, you (and I for that matter) have single outlines that are huge. In MS Word, I have single documents that are huge. But with Curio you can segment your thoughts so you can focus on them individually, while still keeping them together in a single project.

With Curio, pretend you have a room with dozens or even hundreds of whiteboards (aka idea spaces). On that whiteboard, you'll create an outline, a mind map, some scribbles, some images, etc. Each whiteboard allows you to really concentrate on a specific issue in your project.

In the same way, you can use Curio's idea spaces to address and focus your attention on specific issues. Then maybe even take advantage of Curio's "jump actions" so you can easily click your way to a remote "whiteboard" where you've researched something else.

So you don't have one huge outline or mind map, you have dozens of smaller collections, connected together like a big neural net. :-)

(Personally I find myself getting lost within my larger OmniOutliner outlines. That's why their "hoist" feature is so useful -- so you can concentrate on a specific part of your outline without getting lost in the hugeness of your outline. So, think of Curio's idea spaces as an automatic way to help you concentrate on specific issues.)

With all of your idea spaces of reasonable size, when you go to share your project with others either via PDF or HTML export, then each idea space should scale nicely to a single page allowing them to easily see what's going on.
I thought this conversation with a customer might be useful to others out there. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or comments.

Minor update

Thursday, February 05, 2009

We released a minor update today (5.4.2) which squashes all the bugs reported to us over the past few weeks.

In addition, it adds a handful of little features:
  • Press Shift-Spacebar at any hierarchical level in a list or mind map and all figures at that level throughout the collection will toggle their expand/collapse state.
  • You can now convert between a list or mind map via the right-click context menu.
  • Improved options in the context menu when right-clicking multiple selected asset figures.
  • The Library now shows the asset filenames with their extensions so you can more easily tell the difference between several identically named files.
  • If you hover the mouse over an idea space in the Organizer, you are now told if it's marked as private or not and, if not, its idea space number which makes printing a selected range of idea spaces much easier.