Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reaction: Tag Clouds and the Case for Vernacular Visualization

It was interesting to read that Tag cloud started as early as 1976 by naming the landmarks in Paris. I did not know tag cloud was a concept which originated in late 70s. I though it was a offspring of the Web 2.0.

I agree with the author's idea that the tag cloud has no longer remained just the tag cloud but has been applied to many different domains and is not just restricted to website tags. You will get a number of tag clouds on the web which help the analysis. As rightly said instead of tag cloud we could use the term 'word cloud'. Authors have also given the example of many eyes which is a really powerful viz tool which I too have tried for one of the visualizations.

I think the last page of the paper is very important in terms of the arguments the authors make for tag clouds. I agree with their view (this was also presented in the previous text mining paper) that users typically like lists over tag clouds in specific scenarios. When the requirement of the user is to have an ordered list then tag clouds will not serve that purpose. The authors have given an apt example of "East" and "Easter". However, there are many other fields like analytics etc where tag clouds can be really helpful as stated by the authors. I agree with the authors that whenever your perspective for looking at the words is of some kind of analysis then tag clouds prove to be helpful over plain old lists.

One last comment about the paper -This paper was really well presented and supported with apt examples. The only one thing I would suggest as an improvement is the 3 column structure that the authors have used. It was difficult for me to read this paper in this 3 column structure. I had to scroll up and down three times to finish a page. Barring this the paper is an excellent read.