Katelyn M. Thompson's Blog

Tag Cloud Creators

Posted in Information Visualization, My Rambles, Usability by kmtom on June 21, 2010

Recently I had a need to create some tag clouds. I came across a number of different tools. As I discovered each of them, I kept finding a better alternative. Below I’ve provided some information about 3 different tools which will allow you to create tag clouds. Happy creation!  

  

TagCrowd's cloud for kmtom.com

 TagCrowd gives you some options about which words should be displayed and produces a simple output of  the words (shown right). The options include the maximum number of words to display, and the maximum frequency of a word that “allows” it to be shown. You also have the option to group similar words (English only) which can be nice. If you have “carton” and “cartons” it could group those together.  

Wordle.net cloud for this blog.

Then, while attending the Mini UPA Conference, I heard the name Wordle a few times, so I decided to investigate this site. Wordle provides many more display options including custom color schemes and sideways and horizontal word alignments. I created a semi-crazy Wordle (shown right) of this blog to demonstrate some of the fun things it can do. Unfortunately, it was unable to create a tag cloud from my website because I don’t have an RSS feed.  

One difficult thing I came across when using Wordle for slightly more practical purposes, was that some of the words got so small they were illegible. Even with zooming in using image manipulation tools, I was unable to see what words were less frequently occurring, because the large words took over.  

Tagxego cloud for kmtom.com

A third option that I came across was Tagxedo. They have, by far, the coolest display options, however it’s a bit cumbersome to use. They are still in beta, so all of their “Pro” features are still free. You can upload an image to shape your words, so you could make your tag cloud in the shape of Abraham Lincoln. A great feature of this program is the ability to hover over a word and see an enlargement of it. This was especially helpful when the words got small! 

Note: One important thing to remember about tag clouds that I heard at Mini UPA is that a lot of folks do not understand what the tag clouds represent. It is a good idea to include that the font size correlates to the number of times that word appeared. Another thing that I found was that you could not compare the font size from one tag cloud to another.

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