Smart Tags / Plain old tags
In the last post, I talked about the importance and the emphasis we placed on the Searching capability in the next version of our software. One of the strengths for our software lies in the ability to filter search results, and I am going to discuss another important filter you will find in V4 of our software: Smart Tags & Plain old tags.
What is a Tag?
A tag is usually one or two keywords attached to the messages and photos in your forum. Tagging allows users to provide keywords that categorize forum content. This in turn helps other users to locate the appropriate content in your site by using the tag cloud available on the sidebar. Tags carry different weights (shown as differences in size), proportional to their usage frequency by the users.
Plain old tags
As the name suggests, it is similar to the oldest form of tagging you find in blogs. In the next version, users will be able to add tags to their messages (admin can decide who can / cannot tag), and anyone who wants to filter messages by tags will be able to do so easily.
The problem with this old tagging feature is that users generally tag their messages without a second thought and when they tag, they don't know if there are similar tags (e.g. "bug" v.s. "bug report") already exist in the system. When this occurs repeatedly over time, tags become polluted and no longer offer the desired filtering benefits.
We deal with this problem in V4 by
- only allowing tags that are approved by moderators;
- providing auto suggestion while users type their tags (smart tags are listed above the text box; see below);
Even with such capabilities in place, forum admins often desire even more control over tagging to ensure that tags do provide relevant results. And in V4, we have a more powerful Smart Tag to help with this.
Smart Tags are predefined tags that are reserved by the admins with certain restrictions to prevent overuse, and the forum software automatically finds messages to tag based on these restrictions.
With this system in place, users will not be able to abuse the reserved tags and we will be able to ensure that some tags provide only results relevant to your community.
In the adminCP, you will be able to supply the following restrictions for each Smart Tag:
- Only tags messages in certain forums- this is great if you create a forum with a very specific purpose (downloadable contents, e.g.)
- Only tags messages made by certain users- you can ensure only posts made by your moderators are tagged this way, for example.
- Only tag messages
- marked as FAQ
- contain poll
- received helpful replies
- received an answer
- updated within ? days
- and only tag x number of messages with this tag
More: Filtering is applied within context
As you can see from the screen shots above, the tag cloud provides users the ability to filter messages on the sidebar. And when users do click on a tag, tag filtering is applied within the page context.
For example, when you are viewing a forum and open the sidebar to see the tag cloud, you will only see tags that are used in this specific forum. And when you click on a tag, you will see the filtering effect immediately on the message list, without being redirected to a general tags listing page. This provides smoother user experience with fewer page reloads.
Thanks for your time today, and in the next post, I will provide more details on the new Top navigation bar & Sidebar in V4 which together play an important role to ensure great user experience.