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The outline of a spidergram

Spidergrams, spidergraphs, spider diagrams and spider maps are all terms used to describe a mindmap-like hierarchical diagram. There is no authoritative definition of these terms, just common use from which a general description can be derived.

Spidergrams DO:

  • Have a central topic,
  • organize information in a pure hierarchy,
  • have text on horizontal node lines,
  • typically employ long phrases, or sentences.

Spidergrams RARELY:

  • use color,
  • use curved lines (other than round the central topic),
  • make much use of images added to the diagram,
  • have just one or two words entries (unlike a Buzan mind map),
  • use bubbles or boxes around nodes (see bubble diagram).

Many diagrams referred to as Mind Maps would more accurately be called spidergrams, but not only is this battle for terminology well and truly lost by common usage, the ambiguity of the term “spider diagram” (see below) makes substitution of the term for “mind map” problematic.

Other uses of these terms[edit]

“Spider diagram” has another (disputed) meaning in mathematics – see the Wikipedia entry. The term “spidergram” has an alternative meaning in geology and another in representing data where the spidergrams look like radar plots / radar chart webs.

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