Given my fondness for tag clouds, it’s inevitable I would love Wordle – it generates word clouds from text you input. Nothing new there, but here’s the catch – it’s lovely. You can manipulate the text colour, orientation, layout, etc.
I’m not sure tag clouds always add value, but I think we could use them a lot more – for instance at the OU we do a lot of student surveys, often with a free form comment section for students to fill out. As a course team chair I would get back lots of data, plus all of the comments. Wading through these was difficult and time-consuming. A simple tag cloud of student comments would instantly highlight what the main issues were.
Apart from that, I think I am going to refuse to read any report that doesn’t start with a nice tag cloud summary.
Here is one from a 30 page SocialLearn report I fed through Wordle. Doesn’t tell you much, but is pretty: