Thursday, October 14, 2010

UX Quickie: Finally, A Tag Cloud I Like

The latest research/blog post from OkCupid has been taking the Internet by storm; if you haven't read their piece on Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex, it's really a must-read.

Hidden in this report - and many of their others - are tiny little UX gems. The author loves to whip up little JavaScript widgets so that people can interact with the data and see things for themselves. It's really quite genius.

But my favorite little gem is how he chooses to represent the tag clouds. Tag clouds can be a really useful thing, but I really hate most implementations of them. In addition to promoting a feast-or-famine information culture, they tend to be ugly, jarring, and hard to parse. But I really, really like the ones he uses here:
Oo, I think I see a bunny!
There are two things he's done that make this tag cloud way better than average. Can you spot them?
  1. Not only are the terms visibly weighted, they are sorted by popularity. You can always tell the top two or three popular things in a tag cloud, but sorting out the rest is next to impossible. This is an easy and obvious solution for communicating popularity levels in a meaningful way.
  2. He alternates colors, making it easy to tell when one tag ends and another begins.
Bravo, Christian Rudder, not only for research both well-done and well-presented.

No comments:

Post a Comment