Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reaction: Tag Clouds and the Case for Vernacular Visualization

History of tag clouds is discussed as born out of the academic community hence they are called vernacular visualizations. They are used by many famous magazines and websites for various reasons like depicting word frequency, word importance measured in some other sense like tf-idf etc. However there are Theoretical problems with tag clouds. Long words get a bias, Cumbersome to search for a words. Semantically related might be far off even if we plan to arrange them in alphabetical ordering. So despite all these flaws tag clouds are popular and some of the reasons may be that they are used as a point of entry to different parts of a web site. Especially in web 2.0 social tagging websites. It has been observed that tag clouds provide a crude idea about what a lot of text is about. So that is one of the reasons they are popular.