Proceedings: GI 2014

ReCloud: semantics-based word cloud visualization of user reviews

Ji Wang, Jian Zhao, Sheng Guo, Chris North, Naren Ramakrishnan

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2014: Montréal, Québec, Canada, 7 - 9 May 2014, 151-158

  • BibTex

    author = {Wang, Ji and Zhao, Jian and Guo, Sheng and North, Chris and Ramakrishnan, Naren},
    title = {ReCloud: semantics-based word cloud visualization of user reviews},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2014},
    series = {GI 2014},
    year = {2014},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4822-6003-8},
    location = {Montr{\'e}al, Qu{\'e}bec, Canada},
    pages = {151--158},
    numpages = {8},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


User reviews, like those found on Yelp and Amazon, have become an important reference for decision making in daily life, for example, in dining, shopping and entertainment. However, large amounts of available reviews make the reading process tedious. Existing word cloud visualizations attempt to provide an overview. However their randomized layouts do not reveal content relationships to users. In this paper, we present ReCloud, a word cloud visualization of user reviews that arranges semantically related words as spatially proximal. We use a natural language processing technique called grammatical dependency parsing to create a semantic graph of review contents. Then, we apply a force-directed layout to the semantic graph, which generates a clustered layout of words by minimizing an energy model. Thus, ReCloud can provide users with more insight about the semantics and context of the review content. We also conducted an experiment to compare the efficiency of our method with two alternative review reading techniques: random layout word cloud and normal text-based reviews. The results showed that the proposed technique improves user performance and experience of understanding a large number of reviews.