How we measure thinking tools

The dimensions used to characterise thinking tools in the spidergraph on the home page need to find a balance between usability and granularity.

This is unlikely to be an easy balance to find, as:

  • the people contributing this data know the tools well (and so will generally prefer granularity).
  • but this map is aimed at newcomers, for whom usability is more important as they try and find their way through this landscape.

We're trying to find a balance, and want to stick to around a dozen dimensions. We're happy to discuss and improve them for future editions of the Map (see Project plan), so check out how to contribute below the table.

Current dimensions at a glance

The following table summarises the current dimensions. Note:

  • in addition to these dimensions, Personal profiles include a place to score your Confidence with each tool or practice. While this seems like a good idea, we're still discussing how to factor Confidence scores into the map.
  • all scores (including Confidence) are on a 1-10 scale (terrible - brilliant):
Dimension Definition To score highly
Openness How well does it play with other tools? How interoperable is it? F/OSS. Use open standards. Has an API. Import/Export Allow 3rd party plugins. Available on all OSs, platforms. Supports structured data
Note-making How good is it as a note-making tool? Good outliner (easy indent/outdent, reorder, fold/zoom...) Atomic note structure, block references. Zettelkasten support.
Writing/Publishing How good is it as a writing & publishing tool? WYSIWYG, zen writing environment/design, editing feature set, seamless publishing system to Web, Social.
Idea discovery Does it help users organise and (re)discover relevant notes? Backlinks, Good search, AI-driven content discovery
User-friendliness How easy is it to start benefiting from it, off the shelf? New user can get started and get benefits without taking courses, reading 3 books and 23 blog posts, or installing a dozen plugins
Power How powerful, adaptable & configurable is it? Lots of features, highly customisable, many plug-ins, queryable knowledge, etc.
Multiplayer Allows teamwork Group-based collaboration: groups, permissions, workflows, version control, commenting, moderation...
Help Is it easy to find high-quality documentation and answers to common questions? Well-organised onboarding, documentation & FAQ system.
Community Is there a supportive community around the tool Helpful community, active 3rd party developers, etc.
Cost How expensive is the tool? A top score indicates a zero price. High scores indicate a low price and/or a very useful freemium version.
Data sovereignty Who owns your data? Data sovereignty means you control your files, so a top score generally means your files are on your PC.

Comments, Suggestions?

If you have any comments, suggestions or requests:

  • please add a comment, below
  • and/or create a separate page for the dimension you wish to comment, develop or suggest, (see How to contribute), using Dimension Schema as a template. Then:
    • if you are commenting on or developing a documentation already listed in the above table, add a link to it in the first column
    • if you are suggesting a new dimension, add a link to it under "Proposed Dimensions", below.

Proposed Dimensions

Want to suggest a new dimension? Create a file using Dimension Schema as a template (see How to contribute), and link to it here. Please include your name:

Dimensions We Decided Not To Use

A place to park unused dimensions

Revision Notes