Tagging tips

I am a great fan of tagging.  I find it to be very easy and very effective.  There are, of course, a couple of minor problems with tagging.  These have more to do with the way my mind works, rather than with actual tagging itself.

The first issue I have is about user interface.  I see two approaches used most commonly.  One approach is to ask the user to enter each tag separately.  One by one.  This is a real pain, if you want to add more than one tag.  It is unbearable pain, if you want to add more than ten tags.  The second approach is way better in this regard, but introduce the problem of it’s own.  The approach I am talking about is the use of single input field, where the user can type as many tags as he wants, which are then automatically separated by the sofware.  This is so much better and easier.  But the common problem with thisis the deference in tag separator.  Some applications use a space, others a comma.  There are pros and cons to both of these.  And  I don’t have a strong preference in the matter (a weak preference is a space).  But what is often missing is the simple instruction underneath the input field which separator to use.  Tagging has become a common practice for many sites, and when these sites differ in the way they handle data, it is difficult fo the user to remember, which site uses which method.  Adding a sentence like ‘Use space to separate multiple tags.’ is so easy, but too few actually do it.

The second issue is of the good practices.  There is no strict guidelines or rules around tagging, which leads to great flexibility.  But great flexibility without any guidelines leads to great confusion.  My most often confusion is with singular versus multiple form of words.  Should I use ‘blog’ or ‘blogs’, ‘feed’ or ‘feeds’?  I happen to think differently at different time of day.  It would be nice to have a reminder somewher nearby, saying ‘Use singular form of word, if in doubt’.  Or something like that.

That I’ve finished writing this post, I suddenly remembered that I have posted something similar to this somewhere already.  Oh, well – too bad.

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