iMandalArt is an unusual piece of softare; that fact, coupled with it’s high price tag, will cause a lot of people to pass it up. Is it worth the big bucks or is it a bomb? With something like iMandalArt, that is entirely up to the user and if iMandalArt’s very non-standard way of organising information is compatible with said user then the marriage might just work. So how does iMandalArt organize information?
iMandalArt’s interface consists of a grid of 9 squares, each of those squares except the centre one expands to a similarly organised 3×3 grid, and so on. The centre square serves as a path back up through this tree. Double-tapping on any square opens that square for editing. You can type text, record voice, or drop a picture, or a combination of all three.
That is pretty much the functionality of iMandalArt in a nutshell. It’s really up to the user to use it however he or she wishes. The software does provide some guidance in the form of almost zen-like instructions. I wonder if the writing is less zen-like and more esl-like but still, it adds a sense of indistinctness to the software that might put people off. The top level of the software only has 3 editable tree bases, if you will. They are labelled GET, MANDA, and LA. Supposedly GET represents the things (ideas, needs) you wish to get, MANDA represents editing those things over time (a diary, goals), and LA represents accomplishment (adding LAs requires things in GET).
If you still don’t know what iMandalArt is then welcome to the club. After purchasing it, you’re still not likely to understand it for some time. This, despite its simplicity.
I suppose what it comes down to is a compatability between the user’s thinking process and the iMandalArt’s methods. What can you do with this tool that you couldn’t do with an outliner? Not much really, but then you wouldn’t get the cool paper-folding interface of iMandalArt if you used an outliner. Am I glad I spent my hard-earned cash on this? The jury is still out, I’m afraid. I want to say that this app is the answer to a distinct need but its lack of focus means that it will likely be a bit longer before I fit it into my day to day. If I could export what I’m putting into it (PDF would be great) then I’d say it was worth its asking price. As it sits, take a close look at the screens at the iTunes store and see if it clicks with you.
EDIT: Please do take a gander at this kindred soul’s site for an interesting (and I suspect accurate) take on iMandalArt