What tag clouds are good for

June 13, 2008 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

David Boyd said he didn’t find tag clouds useful for navigation and questioned the meaning of the colors (they have none assigned). Here’s what I responded: what they are good for is seeing what’s all in there; the chock full of nuts view. you don’t follow them. not navigation. you see what’s big and what’s inside. its great for understanding the ingredients and their relative size when you have a lot of information you want people to work a little bit at, to look at a little more deeply and make the connections. it’s like a class picture with names and the names are relative to the success of each of the class of ’68.

It’s about a gestalt view when that has value. not navigation or laden with specific meaning but a kind of aggregate sense of meaning. We’re using it on cards for Socap08. One side is the tag cloud from all the words on the front page of the site. The other is logo, dates, venue (October 13-16, Fort Mason SF), etc.

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Entry filed under: visualization. Tags: , .

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