I am building a website, and my designer came up with the idea of using a (3d) tag cloud to display the different actions a user can take (the site's functionality is somewhat complex, and so explaining its functionality is one of the main challenges).
On one hand the idea seems really compelling as it is an interactive way for the user to explore the different things she can do - clicking on each "tag" will cause a short explanation and some links to the actual pages where the action is performed to be displayed.
On the other, tag clouds have a very common and well defined goal. And that's not it.
So might it confuse users? Are there any other down sides for using it I should consider?
Edit 1 - reply to charles' comment:
I don't have any screenshots or mockups, as the new design has just started, so here are the main functions of the site:
Users can add any topic they desire, They can add questions for those topics with their answers, and the site then generates tests and quizzes. Obviously users can also take those tests and quizzes.
The site is actually already up in the air (at pmakesp.com) but its current design is horrific.. But anyhow maybe it'll help someone to understand it better.
So anyhow the actions are:
Compete (=take tests as tests have an indication of who finished them the fastest)
and we'll probably add some other general "actions" as "win medals"
Edit 2 - further explanation for the tag cloud's goal:
First to make the question more visual and explicit, here's a link to the cloud's demo - that's how it will look - http://www.goat1000.com/tagcanvas.php
Now as for what it'll do:
Imagine that for this site's landing page there will be a "tag" that says "Ask a Question", and clicking on it will display a box with the headline "Ask a question to be viewed by professional designers" (or something like that). The box will also contain a short explanation as to how the asking/answering mechanism work, and a link to the "Add Question" Page.
And another tag that says "Answer a Question", and "Earn Badges", and so on..
Again, the purpose is creating an interactive way for the user to understand what can be done on the site.
Hope I made it clearer this time :)