take your text for a walk

We are experimenting with visual ways in which we can enhance people's engagement with language. By fusing the information we can obtain from corpus searches, concordance outputs and word clouds we are aiming to enable and encourage people to notice and wander through the words they read, write and speak.

To try an early prototype of the WordWanderer
just select a text below or paste your own and take it for a walk.


An experiment by Marian Dörk and Dawn Knight at Newcastle University
funded by the RCUK Digital Economy programme’s PATINA project.
More details about the concept and methods are in this article.

The WordWanderer interface has three main views:

cloud view

The cloud view displays the most common words of a text using font size to represent relative frequencies. The ordering of the words is alphabetical from top to bottom, left to right. When hovering over a word, its relationship with other words, in terms of their rate of proximal co-occurrence in a text, are highlighted in colour.

context view

Clicking on a word selects it for the context view. The word sizing corresponds to how often they occurr in the text near the selected word: the larger the word, the stronger the association between the words and the selected term. Vertical positioning is alphabetical and horizontal positioning represents sentence positions relative to the selected word.

comparison view

Dragging a line between two words triggers the comparison view. In this view a word's size corresponds to the combined association strength with the two words. Here, the horizontal position represents the difference in association between the two selected words. If a word occurs more often with the left word, it will be placed more towards the left side of the screen.

All views show a limited a number of words. To find a specific word there is a search function above the visualization. Simply type in a word and hit enter to activate this function. In the options (top right), you can set which types of words are included, based on their parts of speech. When in context view, the instances of the selected word are displayed below the visualization.

Thank you for trying out the WordWanderer prototype. In a few words please describe your experience of using it. You might want to add comments on the following:

– What sorts of things you found
– What you think WordWanderer ‘does’ (and how well it does it)
– Whether you think of any potential applications of the interface
– If you would use it again, or maybe refer it to a friend
– Whether you think anything is missing from it

Please don’t feel restricted by these - we appreciate any feedback.

Thank you!

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