Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reaction: Tag Clouds and the Case for Vernacular Visualization

This paper focuses on tag clouds, which the author terms as vernacular visualizations. Presently, websites use the tag clouds as aggregators to summarize the activity on the social websites or blogs. The author also points out other attempts of using tag clouds for analysis of political speeches and academic articles. Tag Clouds often act as an entry point to the websites and hence have became popular amongst the casual users. however, they have number of shortcomings in terms of length and organization of the words. Tag clouds may not be very effective for analytical purposes.

This article makes some important conclusions. As author mentions 'tag clouds work in practice but not in theory'. Casual users find it to be a good way to visualize and analyze the unstructured text. Thus, they have become popular even if they violet some rules of traditional visualizations. It was interesting to read how practical applications drive the theory even in the field of visualization, like some of the other technical fields.