Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reaction: Tag clouds and the case for Vernacular Visualization

It's a writing which makes ask of how visualization in the future, say in 2040, would look like. Would it be very different or similar?
It would be such a great honor - whoever the inventor is - to have a method called the "greatest" diagram in the era such as tag clouds. Moreover, it's not only a way for aggregating tags but also a way to perform analytical tasks.
Figure 6A and 6B reminds me of the importance of meditating the Bible verse in terms of the context. When reading the Bible, it is said not to look at one verse and interpret it by yourself but to understand the cultural background, the time, the context of the paragraph. Likewise, Figure 6B - a two-word tag cloud gives the gist and more important information from Obama's speech. It again emphasizes that considering the context is important in text visualization.
It is interesting to know that despite the limits of tag clouds, it still functions as social signifiers and provides friendly point of entry into a complicated domain. Tag clouds really do act as a friendly entry to a large data set; otherwise, it would have been impossible to figure out what to look at first if there were no entry points.
And yes, as the authors say, regardless of the drawbacks of tag clouds, it passes the test of applicability.