The Rights and Wrongs of Tag Clouds

by on June 23, 2007

…xtual information as a necessary user experience element of any successful tag cloud – in the collection of essays available from my blog here: http://www.joelamantia.com/blog/archives/cat_tag_clouds.html In this larger context, the role of the posting on usability best practices for tag clouds was to answer specific questions from the community, and set the stage for the necessary and ongoing discussion about how to construct tag clouds. The impo…

Tag Cloudy

by on October 16, 2006

…th have power in the right context. Chas Jonathan Perhaps I should define “tag cloud” as a list of tags where the relative visual size of each tag represents how many items of content have that tag. Chinwag doesn’t use tag clouds (at least not that I can see, please clarify if they do). It uses simple tag lists. My objection to the Yahoo! Tech use of the tag cloud is not a question of Berkshire vs Sussex as in your example. Maybe I didn’t explain…

Those Tag Clouds Again

by on January 5, 2007

…it’s not exactly a shining example of good design overall, the use of the tag cloud struck me as particularly good when applied to the movie pages. The cloud here is much more effective than reading a synopsis. Through the power of user-generated tags, I can also get clues about the film I would not otherwise obtain (eg lots of users tagging a film as “boring” or “left wing”). The del.icio.us tag cloud is a lesser example, but still good: The clo…

Tag Clouds: The Final Word

by on March 14, 2009

…final. I promise. It comes of a brief discussion about our opinions about tag clouds at work this week, which was a good opportunity to summarise what I thought about them – and over a nice cheese sandwich, as it happened. Tag clouds are good at doing a very specific task very well, but are also hideously misused to the point of utter meaninglessness in a great many contexts. While I don’t think there was any researched intention behind their fir…

On Maps and Ecommerce

by on May 3, 2009

…tomatically good at explaining things. In this respect they are similar to tag clouds: got a lot of “key words”? Dude – you need a tag cloud! Need to show some geographically-related things? Fire up the Google Maps API! But like tag clouds, pie charts, and other things that seem to be obvious solutions to information visualisation, their use is often ill-considered. It’s easy to get them into a state where it’s completely unclear what their value…

Is The Future Really Mystery Meat?

by on August 7, 2008

…s mean before she clicks them, and can pinpoint a calendar in an amorphous cloud of tiny screen shots (a cloud which, we are told, will change over time). However, I have a theory about this. On the face of it, given the rightly savage panning that such navigation has received over the years, for Adaptive Path to present it in the context of demonstrating a new UI is laughable. This is doubly so because they are supposed to be user experience and…

Wikipedia and Conflicts of Interest

by on November 13, 2007

…an just a fount of links to knowledge. Also notable was the use of the COI tag as a kind of re-enforcement of an initial objection to lack of attribution and poor style – for which there are both perfectly usable tags. The PR operative’s account name seemed to be a red rag to a bull in that regard. I suppose the good news is that whenever somebody says you can plonk anything on Wikipedia, you’ll know they’ve never read a discussion page on an arti…

Moving On

by on April 8, 2006

…ry thoughtful card (masterminded by Miles Sampson, I’ve just found out) complete with ASCII art photo of myself, grinning. My boss, Vanessa Wolfe-Coote, had the great idea of asking everyone to send in a word or phrase they thought summed me up, which I’ve arranged as a spoof tag cloud for posterity and ego-massage (the text sizes are based on actual frequencies, and are not my own!) Thanks again all, particularly those who have supported me in my…

The Information Architect: Cuckoo in the Nest?

by on August 31, 2006

…ls to the IA, but she will leave ideas about whether something should be a cloud of spinning cherubs (as opposed to a popup menu) to the creative team. The IA might temper these ideas by facilitating audience research, but creativity needs to be respected for what it is: fragile genius and a vital part of any new media project. Similarly, if this creative goes too far off beam for whatever reason, the IA will put it right by referring either to ex…

Web Analytics as Business Meteorology

by on November 9, 2014

…f it’s bad, you hope it will improve. Aside from the digital equivalent of cloud seeding (buying more traffic) you don’t think you can actually change it though. Perhaps the unspoken but obvious reason for this is that quantitative measures cannot, without a lot of luck and deductive effort, tell you why something happened. Consequently, you are almost always better off consulting your own judgement about what might change the weather rather than…

Anti Copyright Arguments

by on January 30, 2005

…Seth David Schoen has done an interesting hatchet-job on a statement from the Business Software Alliance that shows (rather long-windedly, but that’s what Americans are like) exactly why there are issues with defending copyright law on the grounds that it allows the software industry to get richer. Nice of them to clear the air so… clearly!…