I stumbled upon this interesting tag cloud visualisation plugin for WordPress, called WP-Cumulus. It takes your WordPress tags (and/or categories) and turns them into a nice little visualisation, like this one which is using my tags and categories:
I like the way this looks and feels and it’s a little bit of fun to play around with for a while. But I have to ask the question, is it useful?
Form versus Function
That eternal question! Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that great online experiences is a blend of good IA, usability, UX, interaction design and visual design. But in the case of this very pretty plugin, I feel that the visual appeal adds very little to the user experience.
Tag clouds allow us to see and drill down to the major themes of (in this case) a blog, and explore more posts on the topic. They are also a nice thing to have for a little extra help with your SEO and are accessible. This flash alternative is none of those things!
Pretty and Playful: yes!
Useful and Usable: (IMHO) No! Certainly not more useful than an HTML equivalent.