I'm working on a project that focuses heavily on Search to discover materials. My thought was to incorporate a tag based search feature to allow for quick search and quick filtering, not based on a set criteria of filters.

My problem is that I'm having a difficult time explaining and getting clients and team members to understand the tag based search system. If I know the name of this pattern I could find a good example to demo to show how it would work instead of just tell.

Below is a screenshot showing the tag based filter search, but this site actually is not a good example. It 'appears' to do what I would like (with the separate bubble tags with a x button) but the method of adding tags (on this site) is terrible.

enter image description here

I would also be interested to know if anyone has any input on whether this type of search method is good, or maybe it's not and that's why I can't find examples of anyone using it.

Update: and now that I'm adding tags to this post I see that the tag field works similarly to what I am describing!

  • What about this site? Click search, which is one of your tags, takes you to a list of questions with search included in its tag. Aug 19, 2014 at 14:20
  • Is this what you are looking for in terms of implementation? harvesthq.github.io/chosen
    – Pdxd
    Aug 19, 2014 at 14:22
  • Thanks, the example on Harvest does help as it uses the tag method. Aug 19, 2014 at 15:38
  • Tag is commonly used in the UI. At the database level it is typically a foreign key.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 19, 2014 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


The ability to select tags and perform a search could simply be called: Tag based search. This is a form of faceted search (which you have already tagged in your post!)


This opens up a bunch of other questions including: are the tags user defined? or are you working within a fixed taxonomy of terms?

Whether this is the right approach to search is dependent on various factors, Consider:

Searching first then refining results? Performing a detailed search then return results? What patterns work best for the data you are working with? drop downs/tags/multi selects etc?

My main concern with tags as if they are user defined then you can end up with many similar tags or terms. Equally if they are defined up front and they dont match what the users expect then they wont be much use. I would recommend doing some research into the correct terms before going down this route.

I found the following book really useful when thinking about search: http://designingthesearchexperience.com/

  • I agree that is very difficult to find the apporpirate tags. Usually user cannot give them to you. Maybe card sorting technique could help. Aug 19, 2014 at 15:06
  • Thanks for the input, the good news is that the system does have a long list of meta terms to pull from and will help users determine what tags are relevant. (Also attempting to include a user generated tagging feature to better classify resources, increasing the relevancy of searches). Aug 19, 2014 at 15:38

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