Lucy In The Sky With Tags
After being bombarded with Zeldman referrers (http://zeldman.com/daily/0405d.shtml) I figured I’d chime in on the “Tag Clouds” and their relevance to the user experience.
I lost my virginity to the Tag experience by using Flickr. At first I saw them as gimmicky, until I was unable to attend SXSW, realizing their true power. Every evening I’d rush to the “sxsw” tag (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/sxsw) and it was like a semi live feed of the conference. At times I felt I was there with the occasional found podcast in the background. I then decided to incorporate this intriguing experience into my site.
By doing this I removed categories feeling the need was redundant and comparatively boring. Categories are too set in stone and at times you may only have a couple entries per category. On the contrary Tags evolve. People can, at a glance, instantly know what you frequently talk about.
I do think this concept is in its infancy and hopefully not going anywhere soon. There is room for improvement. Some question to ponder:
- How do we make these screen reader friendly?
- Can Flash play a role?
- Over time orphan tags saturate the field.
- Two worded tags (recently conquered by Flickr)
- Weighted by amount of comments
- Weighted by time?