Word cloud visualisation of locative information
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This article describes an explorative study of a prototype for visualisation of locative information from Wikipedia. PediaCloud is a smartphone app that uses word clouds for graphical display of links to text and photos relating to a particular place. This approach to accessing location-based information is different from more common approach of using interactive maps to visualise the information. PediaCloud gives you a word cloud representing your location, and the words are links to Wikipedia articles. In addition to reading the Wikipedia entries, you can re-centre your information probe by getting a topical word cloud weighting the located information content in relation to that particular word. This results in word cloud visualisations that could bring the user into a variety of topics. In this article, we explore the potential use value of a service like this and identify opportunities for further design and development. PediaCloud was tested in 2014 in a field trial in London, a big city with large amounts of located information, with eight participants from the city. The data collected indicate that PediaCloud will be experienced as an explorative locative service, where you discover nearby information by coincidence rather than after searching for it instrumentally. The analysis has explored the nuances and potentials of this ‘sideways’ search that is embedded in PediaCloud, and shows how this can be considered a serendipitous search approach, giving the users information in a manner that can be considered fun, surprising and interesting.