An interesting tag cloud visualisation – but is it useful?

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.

About the Author

An experienced, commercial and creative user experience professional with a proven record in UX leadership, strategy, people management, branding and innovation. Responsible for the design and delivery of several high profile, big brand web sites and enterprise software applications. All opinions here are my own.

2 Responses

  1. Alex Horstmann May 12, 2009 -

    The answer to my “Is it accessible” question is yes! When it came through on the RSS reader it was in HTML format – so, that’s a nice plus in its favour!

  2. todd Jun 01, 2009 -

    can you do this on typepad? or do something like this with Delicious bookmarks?

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