WordPress provides a wealth of statistics about who clicked what to get to a blog, what they clicked when they were there, and so on (all unidentifiable; don’t worry!). You can get paranoid in them for hours.
A particularly interesting one is the list of search terms which people used to find the page, but it’s also quite hard to digest. You just get a list of the terms and how many times they were used.
I was pondering my list of searches, trying to make sense of it, and then I remembered Wordle, the addictive website where you feed some text in and out comes a “word cloud” in which the size of each word is determined by how many times it occurs.
Ideal! I copied my list of search terms, put them in and played around with the settings for a while, and out came:
which is much easier to visualise. Because it’s, er, visual. And, I might add, the brain has a lot of processing power devoted to visual information. (I wonder what an audio equivalent would be? Now that might be fun!)
Actually that particular wordle isn’t 100% accurate, because in my eagerness I forgot that some of the terms (e.g. the impressive pluto planet dwarf plutoid plutino) had been used twice and should have been pasted in twice. Or maybe it is accurate, if it was the same person returning? Who knows? (Answer: the person who used it. OK, point taken.)
Now I’m wondering: does Wordle translate the number of times a word is used into the total size of the word, taking into account how many letters it has, or does it merely translate it into the font size? Hmmm . . . OK, OK, in theory I could work that out by counting the words myself and looking at the result, but that seems like a lot of work at 12:50 am, so I’ll be content not to know for now.
Ah, Wordle. Too much fun!
To answer your question, yes: Wordle uses the number of times a word is used to determine its font size. This can be used to tweak how a Wordle looks, or to craft a Wordle from scratch like I did here:
I wasn’t sure whether the link was between frequency and font size, or frequency and the total size (area) of the resulting word. Font size makes most sense, as I think text jumps out at us in proportion to the size of the letters rather than the size of the words… Here’s a test one I did just now: http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/944486/Proportionality