Tag clouds are, at this point in the history of the web, a well known and widely used method of classifying and displying the content of a website.  There are free services to help you design your own clouds (the picture below was designed in wordle). Some of the resulting clouds are quite artistic.

The basic idea is that the cloud shows what is important on a web page through the size (or sometimes color or position) of the word.  For example the tag cloud below shows the content of Radiance from our first post to this point–it’s obvious we’re people persons!

You can see also that surveys, data, charts, markets, trends, and results are important to us.

Tag clouds can be a great tool in qualitative research, showing what terms are used the most in focus groups, by interviewees, or texts found in literature reviews.  It’s not perfect, since it won’t display context (there’s no way to tell in the Radiance tag cloud whether “people” are associated with approving or disapproving statements).  But as a way of artistically displaying qualitative data, I think it’s quite elegant.