I am designing an organizational app, and, per the specs, it has a "favorites" tag/shortcut/folder. This would exist alongside folders and tags. In your experience, is it a good idea to include "starred" or "favorites" tags in organizational schemes?

I notice that, while Gmail has the star, Inbox does not. Google bills Inbox as the future, but Inbox is also full of half-assery, so I wouldn't necessarily use that as a model. Spotify downgraded the hard-coded "starred" tag to just another playlist.

Starred emails

This extremely small sampling at least somewhat hints that research does not favor "favorites" being a fixed category in organizational UI.

Does anyone have any experience here?

  • More details / accuracy are needed to make a call here... Is it a tag based system or a folder based one? What's the use case this tries to solve for?
    – Dan Barak
    May 19, 2017 at 4:34
  • It is both. As the designer, I am making a call that folders will be the primary idiom and tags secondary. As far as the use case, the rationale is simply that the user would want to have certain frequently accessed files readily available.
    – JClaussFTW
    May 19, 2017 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


Let's talk about the need here which is quick access later on.

In the most archaic sense, it is like bookmarking a particular page in the book. Do not take any application or company's design language as gospel because they all tend to push their own ideas and when it comes to UX, that is not important. What is important here is to make sure that the user knows what the functionality of that button is.

As far as your particular question is concerned, I feel like it is slightly ambiguous as I am unable to point out exactly what you want to know. But here's why and where the concept of "Favorites" comes into play.

If you have a list of data and it is organized in a pre-formatted fashion, pinning the items that may require attention later on or on a regular basis, helps create an unorganized category that has less data, takes one-click to prepare and is more accessible as it is directly controlled by the user.

Hope this helps. Feel free to communicate about this and correct me if I am wrong because it is a good question and I want make sure that even I am on the right side of the discussion

PS: Don't even get me started on the UI and UX of Inbox

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