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I have a list of tags associated to a page. Currently, those tags link through to a search page of other pages sharing that tag.

This is the view from an individual page:

tag list

I don't think this behaviour is obvious and I am struggling to either make it clear or find another behaviour that make sense.

What would make the most sense here and how do I make that clear to the user?

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You mean a search result page such as website-design? –  Benny Skogberg MCSA Jan 29 at 14:05
    
How do you know the behavior isn't obvious and users are not clicking on them - if that's what I understand the problem to be. Make them look like links. Users know what to do with links or at least anyone who's used the web for a couple minutes. –  Mark Bubel Jan 29 at 14:42
    
@BennySkogberg - yes. Stack Exchange's way of doing this is worth looking at. Do you think this behaviour is clear enough for the user? Maybe it is, just asking. –  benjaminjosephw Jan 29 at 14:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Overall, rather than thinking "tags" when you create your interface, it might be more useful to consider the context of your user's view of your site which is: "to investigate other accommodation with similar attributes" - which, effectively, is what you're using the user interface pattern of "tagging" to do.

I can see two issues here:

  1. The title "Tags" will not mean much to a non-expert user

  2. The tags don't look like links

I ask myself "Will my mum know what a 'tag' is, or how it works?" - I'm using the example of my Mum because it looks like your site is promoting accommodation and she's probably your audience.

Go back to basics first/ Just because you're using the UI pattern of "tags" doesn't mean you have to label the User Interface as such. A suggested title for your tag list might be "Find other places like this", or "Find other places like [title of current accommodation]"

Further, it's not obvious to a visitor that your tags are click-able. So, from a design standpoint, start with a list of links or buttons - i.e. something that invites the user to click - and work up from there (never losing sight of the fact that the links must look click-able).

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Thanks for this Steve. The only problem here is that the tags serve two functions. As well as helping users "investigate other accommodation with similar attributes" they are also designed to highlighting the attributes of the accommodation featured on that page. All you said still applies but it does become difficult to find an appropriate title for this kind of list. –  benjaminjosephw Jan 29 at 16:18
    
Good point - hadn't considered importance of that in your situation. So the focus in this particular case is on "Accommodation features". And those features need to look click-able. I'd propose that the title deals with "here are the features of this page" and more click-able tags deals with "and you can click these to find similar". If your assumption is: "the more people browse related properties, the more sales we get" then suggest hooking up some click-tracking to see if it's used. Could be you need an additional UI on page specific to "find similar accommodation with these features". –  Steve Attewell Jan 29 at 16:56

If you want to highlight there is an action for tags, you should underline them (you can used dashed underline if you want 'lighter UI').

To highlight it does a search I would add Magnifying glass icon into the tag, that will show only on hover.

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Exposed Tags are often over used by more technically minded UX people as an alternative to other forms of navigation. For example many real world users don't realise how tags really work in gmail, but don't need to for it to work.

The standard approach for search is to have facets that used values of a value (such as colour or task) to allow the user to reduce the amount of items they are seeing. The values are ever numeric or effectively tags added to the product management system.

I would recommend exposing tags to users only for sites where there are a lot of similar type of items/content, such as blogs or photo sites. Behind the scenes tags, if grouped and organised well, can become vital meta data that drives the structure, navigation and search for a site.

So in your case I would ditch the term tags and replace it with the concept of filters. See Air BnB for a great example of this.

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Thanks for the suggestion stewart. What you described is exactly how tags work on the search page - they act as filters. For the individual pages, I need to highlight which attributes belong to that resource and I wanted to also add some functionality to this attribute list (a.k.a 'tags'). Filters don't really make sense in this context. –  benjaminjosephw Jan 29 at 16:23

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