I'm sure most of the WebDev people are familiar with "tags" or "keywords."
Flickr uses them as a way to search for groups of photos containing a tagged
Hot or Not's "Meet Me or Not" and community sites like Friendster and
MySpace use them to track user interests.
On Flickr, when a page of these tags is displayed, variable font sizes
indicate the relative number of images tagged with a particular word.
If "Tom" is larger than "Fred," you know that there will be more photos to
see in the "Tom" album (ostensibly, pictures containing Tom), than in the
Given this usage, I now have a client who is employing tags in a similar way
that Friendster and MySpace use them. But this client really likes the
variable font sizes that they see on Flickr. They've asked me to display
lists of tags with font sizes set RANDOMLY, meaning that there is absolutely
no meaning to the fact that "Tom" is bigger than "Fred," and if you refresh
the page, "Fred" may now be bigger than "Tom."
I've tried to explain that the user will anticipate some reason for the
variation in sizes, and will be confused and/or frustrated when no obvious
reason comes to light.
Unfortunately, this client seems to like to learn things the hard way,
rather than accept advice from their Web Dev/Design specialist. They insist
that the variation of the font sizes adds "interest" to the look and feel of
the page, and that users in their late-twenties and up are not going to have
the same expectations as "young, hip" users of Flickr.
I would really appreciate any feedback on this, as it will help me know
whether this is a battle worth fighting.