So, I'm trying to expand my information architecture vocabulary in english and I'm struggeling with tags.

Lets say I want to describe a product with a couple of keywords. I've desided that you could describe it by color (blue, red or green), size (small, medium or big) and material (stone, plastic or steel).

To me Blue or Small or Stone are tags. But what do you call Color, Size and Material with a common name? A Tag category? A Tag group? Or is stone an attribute of the tag Material? Or should I talk about just categories and values instead?

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    What are these categories / groups used for? Can you actually browse by them on the front-end or is it purely for a documentation point of view? – JonW Jan 23 '14 at 15:49
  • On the site the tags could both be used for purely describing the content but could also be used for contexual navigation. (Clicking the color blue on a product page displays all blue products) But I also want to know for better describe the fuctionality in documentation or in conversations with client and developers. – Tony Bolero Jan 23 '14 at 16:20
  • Who are you describing it to ? Technical vocabulary is fine if you are talking to technical specialists, but you might need to use different vocabulary if you are talking to non specialists. – PhillipW Jun 22 '18 at 22:16

Facets. Colour size and material are facets as in faceted navigation. Most shops use faceted navigation to allow customers to find the item they are looking for. Red for example is a value under the colour facet. Price and anything with a range can be turned into a facet by slicing it into chunks (for example 50-100 pounds). Or you just leave it as a range with a max slider (or min / max sliders).

Peter Morville put together this collection of faceted navigation.


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  • Price is no facet to me, because it has dependencies (like currency). Generally, numeric data also often makes for poor facets (whenever there's a unit involved). – DanMan Jan 31 '14 at 14:09

If you are thinking of documentation and talking to both clients and developers, the terms facets, attributes and dimensions, would work. The facet/attribute/dimension is applied in the IA as categories.

In your example, Color, Size and Materials can all be considered as facets/attributes/dimensions. "Stone" would be an attribute (and value) of "Material" e.g Blue Medium Stone Widget.

Hope this mapping helps!

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Attributes; colour, size, material, weight, category, price bracket, brand, stock availability, etc - an attribute is one of many ways to break down the information pertaining to a product.

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