Viveport Review: Noda
Noda allows you to map your thoughts, plan your projects and brainstorm in the comfort of virtual reality.
By Joshua Hawkins, Greenlit Content
Mind mapping is a popular method for getting your thoughts out there and organizing them in an easy to see environment. Noda takes the idea behind mind mapping and transfers it into virtual reality, giving you a massive canvas to work with and connect the dots as you want to. It’s a nice idea, but overall it feels a bit clunky to work within, and like anything that involves typing in VR, things can get a bit wonky at times.
Honestly, this is one of those applications that doesn’t really need virtual reality to exist, and I truthfully don’t see a point in it. Maybe it works for some, but this is something that can just as easily be achieved with desktop applications, or even sticky notes on a desk—all of which won’t involve setting up your HTC Vive and dealing with that kind of hassle—especially if you aren’t a daily user who keeps their equipment set up and ready to go.
If you do choose to use it, then you’ll find yourself dealing with a fairly clunky UI system that is pretty hard to get around. It’s useable, but not nearly the best that I’ve seen, and typing things into the application is pretty tough to deal with. It’s easy to make mistakes, and while the video for the application makes it seem easy, I had a hard time not clicking the wrong letters and keys using the virtual keyboard.
To me, being able to type easily seems like it would be a vital part of mapping out your thoughts. Because of this issue, I found Noda to be less useful than I thought it should be. Of course, there are other ways to make use of the program. You can upload images, CSV files, and easily connect everything together. It’s not a bad idea, and with a bit more polish, it might not have been a bad application. But, as it stands now, Noda is badly executed, lacking the ease of use that you really need with an application like this.
That isn’t to say Noda couldn’t be good one day. But again, it really feels like an application that would make better sense outside of virtual reality. Having to put on your headset and organize everything together so you can make use of the application is a little cumbersome and feels a bit weird to work with. It is nice to be able to export your projects after you finish them, but I still think I’ll stick with the tried and true method of sticky notes and an empty countertop, at least until they manage to polish things up a little.