A professional blogger tends to use a vast amount of words. A great vocabulary can create a better experience for the reader. Therefore, increasing vocabulary is something vital to personal development as a professional blogger. You should consider putting in an effort to learning new words as well, and while it might not be to the extremes that I go to, it certainly can’t hurt. Normally someone would just go to Thesaurus.com to find related words, but I have been evaluating an application for the past month that makes the experience a whole lot more interesting.
Visual Thesaurus 3 Desktop Edition by Thinkmap, Inc. provides a new perspective of finding related words. Surprisingly, it makes this task a visually pleasing and fun experience. Type in a word and you will be treated to a graphical map of related verbs, adverbs, nouns, and adjectives. It is a powerful application, but most might under-estimate it.
How does it work? You type in a word and you are presented with related words — it can’t get much easier than that. However, if that was all this application did, it wouldn’t be much worth discussing. It is great because of the amount of customization that is available. There are also many filtering features; however, I have been very satisfied with the default settings.
The interface is really nicely done. It is a result of the application being organized in a way that makes sense. It might take a few minutes to completely understand what the word maps really represent, but once you do, you quickly realize the power this tiny application has and why it was setup that way.
You can navigate the word maps with your mouse, and you could even change it to be in a 3D environment (but most people will prefer the 2D). The interface uses lines and bubbles to signal relations and definitions of words. You can simply hover over or click on the various elements to receive information.
Now, I was trying my best to find something I didn’t like about this application, but it just works. I think the value would be better at around $25, but other than that, nothing to complain about. There are a few things I wouldn’t mind seeing added in the future: I think it would be cool if you could change the color scheme of the application itself or have additional settings for the way the maps are setup. But even then, those are just hopeful additions for the future.
It is $40 for the desktop edition of Visual Thesaurus 3, but it certainly could be worth the cost if the right person uses it. For many of you, this might seem to be a little too steep for a program that does such a specific thing, but if you are like me, you will have it open every time you are writing an article. It is a great tool to assist and enhance your writing.
Check out VisuWords for a free online alternative. My only gripe is that the online application seems to be very processor intensive.