Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Tag clouds are not a replacement for UI

I tend to agree with Rands:

My question remains. What is the purpose of a tag cloud? It's more interesting than a bulleted list, but as user interface goes it's a aflutter with clutter. If you tell me this is intended to a casual interface for browsing tags, I'll buy it, but if it's intended to more useful than a stumblable interface, I'd like to hear your theories... Rands In Repose: A Chance of Tag Clouds

Favourite two phrases: "aflutter with clutter" and "stumblable interface".

What do I want? I want "top tags today", "my top tags", "popular tags of all time", and ways of applying these tags as I add AND browse content. The whole issue of a personal tag space vs. a global tag space is something that needs exploring on an application by application basis, too. Which opens the door to permissions models and identity, of course...

Are tags really just an aid to search? I think we can begin to do more interesting things when we can make links between different people's thoughts on tags. My "restaurant" means the same thing as your "restaurant". My "Vancouver" is Vancouver, BC, not Vancouver, WA.

Groups of people could attach themselves to certain tags and "agree" that it means the same thing to them.

Yeah, this ended up being a brain dump on tag ideas, a lot of which are just half-baked concepts right now. But...will we point at Rands' post and say "this is when the love affair with tags began to decline?" :P