Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reaction: Tag clouds and the case for vernacular visualization

This article gave me a great view of the history and origin of tag and word clouds. It was interesting for me to find out that tag cloud creation was not created by anyone in the visualization community and instead created as an ad-hoc solution to present textual data that may be better visualized in other more traditional manners (e.g. table of words with a frequency column).

The article also provides several good examples of the unstructured nature most instances of tag and word clouds uphold. For example, the visualization of one of Obama's speeches created with ManyEyes seems to have duplicate words that could be potentially merged to make a "cleaner" visualization. Examples of these words are year/years, work/working, and america/americans/american. Overall, the article provides several points of improvement that my teammates and I have been considering for our word cloud project.