Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Intelligent Human Computer Interaction (IHCI 2011), Prague, Czech Republic, August, 2011

Volume 179 of the series Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing pp 137-145


WordVis: JavaScript and Animation to Visualize the WordNet Relational Dictionary

  • Steven VercruysseAffiliated withNTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Email author 
  • , Martin KuiperAffiliated withNTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

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Today’s data needs flexible visualization, and the advent of new tech-nologies defined under HTML5 has opened up new possibilities for rich web-applications. We used JavaScript and the new HTML5 ‘canvas’ element, to create a software module GraphVis for online visualization and exploration of large relationship networks. As a first test-case we applied the module to Princeton’s WordNet English thesaurus, and made the result available as the web-application WordVis. WordVis is an exceptionally agile, online synonym-dictionary explorer. It shows a customizable graph of interlinked words and meanings, which are arranged by real-time animation, and behave like repelling magnets that are also rearrangeable by the user. WordVis shows the merits of using JavaScript: the visualizer can be fully integrated inside a web page, and that enables communication with other HTML elements in the page. It demonstrates the latest developments in web technology, and its agility may serve as an inspiration for other web-applications. As an intuitive, online synonym-dictionary explorer, it helps to ‘find the right word’ while writing English texts. It offers an online, free and more powerful browsing experience than any existing word-network visualizer.