Frequently Asked Questions

Infomous Basics: General Information

What is Infomous?

Infomous is an exciting new way to navigate and discover online content. Infomous summarizes the content of one or more feeds and renders the results as an interactive word cloud, which displays the relative relationships of the words to each other.

How does Infomous work?

Each word on the screen is a topic that stands out because it is prominently discussed in the content you are reading. The size of each word reflects the frequency with which it appears in the source, while links between words show their relationship within the source.

How do I use Infomous?

Infomous clouds are interactive. If you click on a word, a drop down list appears with links to articles that are related to the specific word. The drop-down will also appear if your mouse lingers over a word. By clicking on a link in the list, you will navigate to that specific article. After half a minute of inactivity, the cloud will automatically select words at random as if they had been clicked. By clicking or hovering over the cloud, the normal interaction mode will resume.

How do I get an Infomous account?

To get an Infomous account simply click on register and fill in your information. You will receive an email with a link, which you will need to click on to authenticate your account.

Do I need an Infomous account to view clouds?

No, you do not need an account. You can view all breaking news and hot topic clouds by visiting Infomous.com. If a person with an account sends you a link to his/her cloud you can view it. However, you do need an account to create your own clouds or to clone other users’ clouds.

Do I need an Infomous account to make Twitter clouds?

No, you do not need an account. By clicking on the “Social” tab when you are in the Explore section of the site, you can search free text, handles and hashtags to visualize a user’s Twitter stream. Create an account if you want to save and get more configuration options for your Twitter clouds.

How do I close my Infomous account?

If you would like to close your Infomous account simply click on the “Contact US” in the About menu to send us an email and we will delete your account.

What is the best use of Infomous clouds?

Infomous clouds can be used in a variety of ways. Our users have used Infomous clouds:

  • As a guide to help find topics on a university website
  • To show trending topics about international peace on a government website
  • To show everything Twitter says about a specific product on a company website
  • As a search/navigation engine instead of traditional menus on public website
  • As a news source
  • As an Oscars go to source outlining the most talked about awards
  • As the “brain” of a website combining all tweets of artists in the music industry
  • As an e-learning tool
  • As a meeting point for all countries for global b2b marketplace

Can I use Infomous on my iPad, iPhone, or smart phone?

The Infomous site and all the clouds on our site are compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and Android. The mobile version of Infomous currently has some limitations in that the words do not move. We will, however, be working to improve the mobile experience over the coming months, so look for enhancements shortly.

What does it mean to clone an existing cloud and what does this do?

On the Infomous site you will find clouds that have been created by other users (like the Breaking News clouds). If you are a registered user, you can "clone" any of these clouds to your own account by clicking the “clone” button located above the full-size cloud.

Infomous Basics: Creating A Cloud

How do I get started creating a cloud?

Once you are logged into your account click on “My Infomous” and click on the “My Cloud Creator” link and you will be taken to the cloud creation wizard. There you will be prompted to type content into the wizard’s input field.

How do I know what information to put in the cloud?

There are 2 ways to put information into a cloud. If you are interested in a specific website which provides an RSS feed, you can copy and paste the feed url into the search field. Alternatively, you can type the subject of interest directly into the search field and Infomous will provide you with results taken from a variety of sources.

What are the sources that Infomous provides if I search for a particular term or topic?

Infomous provides the following items:

  • When your search query matches a Twitter user name, recent tweets by that user.
  • Twitter search of tweets that mention the subject you are searching for
  • A Google blog search results about the subject you are searching for
  • A Google News Search results about the subject you are searching for
  • Suggested feeds related to your query

What is a feed?

A feed is the standard format for distributing information on the Web. Each Infomous cloud uses one or more feeds as a data source. As the data changes or updates in the feed, your cloud will change accordingly to reflect those updates. Most websites produce content in RSS feeds, which stands for
Really Simple Syndication.

Where can I find RSS feeds on a website?

Each webpage places their RSS feed in a unique spot. They are most often located at the bottom of a webpage, in the tools section, or close to the Twitter and Facebook buttons. Look for this symbol An RSS Feed Icon which indicates a RSS feed.

What does making a cloud private mean?

Checking the box “make this cloud private” means that you are the only person who can see this cloud. When you view a private cloud in full size, there will be a pink border around the cloud to make you aware that it is private.

How do I make a cloud my favorite?

You can favorite a cloud by clicking the heart icon above it. It will be added to your personal dashboard, where you will have easy access to it when you want to check it again.

Why are the words different sizes?

Word size indicates relevance. The bigger a word is, the more frequently it appears in the cloud sources. Only the forty or so most relevant words (depending on the cloud's settings) are shown at a time.

What do the links (lines) between the words mean?

Topics become linked when they are mentioned in the same context or discussed together multiple times. Related terms and concepts are linked together with lines so you can grasp the context of any relevant topic.

Why are certain words grouped in the same cluster of bubbles?

The words in the Infomous cloud are organized in groups of related words. This provides you with a quick glimpse of which topics belong together in conceptual clusters.

Why are some bubbles solitary and not connected to other bubbles?

A solitary term is one that is not connected to any of the other terms in the cloud. Terms connect to each other when they occur together in the same stories.

Infomous Basics: Embedding A Cloud

How do I get the HTML code from a cloud to embed it on my webpage?

To embed a cloud, look for the embed button, which is indicated by the 2 brackets (<>) above a cloud on a list or in full view. Copy the code snippet from the popup window and paste it in your page where you want the cloud to appear.

How do I embed a cloud directly using HTML?

Open the source code for your web page, paste the embed code wherever you want within your web page, save the web page and check out the cloud.

How do I embed a cloud using an editor like Front Page?

If you use an editor such as Front Page to create and maintain your web site, you should be able to insert the embed code directly at the position on the page where you want it.

How do I embed a cloud if I am not using HTML or an editor?

If your web page is hosted on a social site such as Ning, or if you use a content management system such as Drupal, or a blog creation site like Wordpress, you will need to follow instructions on their sites for how to embed code on your pages. However, most sites allow you to do this easily, and you can enter the embed code just as you would enter any other HTML code.

Can I embed a cloud on Facebook?

Unfortunately no, Facebook does not allow embedding. You can, however, "like" your cloud to share a link to it with your friends. The Facebook “like” link is located on the lower left hand corner directly below your cloud.

Can I embed a cloud on Twitter?

No you cannot embed a cloud on Twitter, as Twitter does not allow embedding of multimedia content. You can tweet your cloud, which allows your followers to follow the link and look at the cloud. The “tweet” link is located on the lower left hand corner directly below your cloud.

Infomous Advanced: Editing A Cloud

What are some general helpful tips & tricks to improve my cloud?

  • If your cloud is based on a term you searched for, and the term is very prominent in the cloud, remove it to visualize the related content better.
  • Keep words to 40 or less.

What do the numbers on the left in the “Your Sources” list stand for?

The numbers on the left hand side in parentheses shows you how much content from that particular source will be used in the cloud.

What does “group related words together” mean?

Group related words together means that Infomous takes your content and organizes in a way that gives you a quick glimpse of which topics belong together in conceptual clusters. The box will be checked by default. When you move your cursor over a word of interest, all the words associated with it will be highlighted.

How does unchecking “group related words together” affect the look and content of my cloud?

If you uncheck “group related words together” the bubbles surrounding the words will disappear. When you move your cursor over a word of interest, the words associated with it will no longer be highlighted.

What does “use description” do?

The “use description” box determines whether the clouds are formed by looking only at the title of each item in the feed, or the full description. It is unchecked by default meaning that Infomous only uses the title of the feeds to create the cloud. When you are doing a Twitter search the “use description” box has no impact.

When is it appropriate to check the “use description” box?

The effect that the “use description” box has on a cloud varies greatly depending on the feed. It tends to be very useful for news feeds as it gives the cloud a well- rounded view of what is going on rather than simply the title. For each cloud, play with it to see which looks better.

What is the relevance of the number of words and what happens if I change it?

By default the number of words present in a cloud is 40 words. Use this setting to regulate how much information you want to show on screen. Choose a low value to highlight only the main topics in the sources and a high value for a more comprehensive view of the contents.

By default, all parts of speech are checked when making a cloud. To focus your cloud on more specific content you can uncheck certain parts of speech and you will see the cloud change accordingly.

Which parts of speech are best to hide?

Every source is different so every case will be different with respect to which parts of speech to hide or show. In most cases, numbers and adverbs are not important. A general rule of thumb is to at least keep the nouns and other.

How do I drill down on a word and what is its significance?

To Drill Down on a specific word or topic, click on the “Drill Down” button at the bottom of the list. The cloud will reconfigure to present only content related to that word. To reset the cloud, click the “Go Back Up” button on the bottom of the list or simply click outside the cloud.

How do I exit out of a word?

To remove an unwanted word, simply click on the “Hide Word” button at the bottom of the list.

Troubleshooting: General Issues

Can I look at a snapshot of all of my clouds at one time, without having to click on each one?

When you are in the “My Clouds” section the default view is the “List View.” Click on the “Dashboard” view and all of your clouds will reappear in small widget form.

I accidently deleted a cloud, is there any way to get it back?

Unfortunately once you delete a cloud there is no way to get it back. To ensure against accidently deleting a cloud, you will be prompted with a message asking you if you are sure that you want to delete the cloud when you click the delete button.

I edited my cloud but I don’t see the changes yet, why is this?

Sometimes after you edit your cloud, you don’t see the result right away. Hit Reload on your browser. If you still don't see your changes, try emptying your browser's cache and then hit reload again, the changes should appear.

All clouds seem to be blank now. None of them are working.

Chances are your Flash Plugin may have crashed. Please close ALL your browsers to reset Flash and try again.

Troubleshooting: Creating & Editing A Cloud

The word I deleted is still on my cloud, how do I delete it permanently?

To delete a word permanently you need to click on the “Edit Cloud” tab and delete the word from there. Make sure to click “Save” at the bottom of the screen when you are done. This is true for any editing you do to your cloud. If you have the cloud in view mode and modify visualization parameters, those changes will not save.

I deleted a word accidently how do I get it back?

To get a word back that you deleted accidently go into the “Edit Cloud” tab, click on “Configure”, then click on the list of focused and hidden words. This will bring up a list of all of the words you have hidden. If you wish to reinstate the word, simply uncheck the box on the right and the word will reappear in the cloud. Make sure to click “Save” at the bottom of the screen when you are done.

Why is there a singular/plural form of a word? Is there any way to change this?

They may be the same word or not, depending on context. At Infomous we believe that computers don't understand language, you do. Most problems like these are easily resolved by removing one word or the other, or both.

How can I combine words so that they always appear together in the cloud?

This capability is not currently available to general users. However, we are constantly improving the functionality and adding new features to the platform, so check back often to see the new changes to the site and cloud functionality.

I saw a cloud with different colors, how do I change the color?

We have not launched the ability to change cloud colors to general users yet. However, we are planning on enabling this capability in the near future.

Why did the results come back as zero when I put in a feed in the search box?

There are a few reasons why this problem may occur. First, make sure that you copied and pasted the exact RSS feed url into the input field. Second, you might have accidently clicked the same RSS feed twice in the results and as a result, you will remove it from the sources.

Troubleshooting: Embedding A Cloud

I embedded my cloud on my webpage, it looks good on Infomous but too cluttered on my webpage, how can I fix that?

Because the embed code generates a widget sized cloud and not a full cloud the cloud may look cluttered. The easiest way to fix this is to change the number of words from the default 40 to a smaller number. Play around with the numbers and see which looks best for your webpage.

Some of the words in my cloud I embedded on my webpage are cut off, how do I fix that?

This problem is most likely caused by the default width in your embed code being too big for the area of your web page in which you chose to embed the cloud. To fix this you need to determine the width of the space allotted for the cloud on your webpage and then determine what the width of the actual cloud is. Many times the two are different so you just need to make them the same width and the problem should be fixed.

How do I change the width and height of my cloud to fit the area on my page in which I would like to embed it?

By default our cloud embed code is set at 400 pixels wide and 300 pixels high. If you need to change the width and height to fit a specific area of your page, simply change the width and height parameters within the code snippet to your desired dimensions.