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Ahhhh tag clouds. Gotta love 'em

. Pete

Ahhhh tag clouds

Or maybe not.

That's one of the current debates up in our little Keebler Tree here at UXSears. We're going to be changing things quite a bit, shortly. New ways of interacting with our customers and letting them interact with each other, but also we'd like to use some experiences that have been around for a while.

That's when someone said "tag clouds".

We were thinking of implementing them in a bunch of ways: popular search terms, what people are buying, what people near you are buying and popular sales. We’re considering putting them in the middle or lower end of the visual hierarchy, if we put them in at all. The discussion has been "very active" here. Namely:

  • “Tag clouds suck”

  • “I love them”

  • “Nielsen says... blah blah blah”

  • “The purpose of tag clouds might not align with...”

  • “They're all sizzle, not-so-much steak”

  • “They can be a little steak, maybe”

  • “More of our customers over here would be new to the site, so tag clouds would be...”

And so on. Yet our goals here at Sears UX are simple:

Be amazing online. Get people to buy stuff. Give them reasons to come back; all the "Made to Stick" reasons that count. Can tag clouds help these goals, or are they just noise?

So far we're about even here. How do you feel?

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At 9/17/2009 04:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

without any examples of how this could be used, I have no pro or con opinion. However I do think tag clouds are used on the mysears.com website but I never use them when searching for reviews. Instead, I think tags could be used, period, but without a cloud feature or popularity. Let the customer decide whether tags are useful to them, and have them offered as a way to narrow searches or create categories.

Having a standard 'tag cloud' is not as effective and it will be a space waster.


At 9/18/2009 04:28:00 PM, Blogger Pete said...

I'm definitely of the opinion that on most of our sites/pages, a tag cloud shouldn't be in the prime areas of the viz hierarchy.

But I think there might be some "Hmmmmm let's check this out" value, if there's a bit more value to be had than just the cloud itself. For example, if we used a cloud to show recent purchases in your area, making it interesting with size, position, maybe color and whatnot as indicators... but then also used that tease as a leverage to engage, that might work out well.

Links to reviews make sense, in this example. Or featuring the profile of someone who's purchased ( and who agreed to such a thing, of course ).


At 1/30/2010 03:42:00 PM, Blogger Rockey said...

Tag clouds can be very useful tool for some of the categories like Books but in some other categories may add little value...

e.g. Check Indian Book Site - http://www.flipkart.com/ There is no navigational element on the site except Tag Clouds and I never had issues on this site...


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