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Vista’s photo manager has a built in tagging facility. Yay!

But I couldn’t figure out how to apply tags to photos until I checked the built-in help. The photo manager shows you your photos on the right and your list of tags on the left. I kept trying to drag tags onto the photos. Nope. You have to drag your photos onto your tags.

This strikes me as weird. It’s less convenient because when you drag a photo, you are dragging a translucent image of the photo, which makes it a little hard to see the list over which you’re dragging it. It’s do-able, but it’s not as easy as dragging a little bit of text onto a great big image.

So, why would Microsoft design it this way? All I can figure is that the designers were thinking that tags are like categories: Bins into which things go. For most of us, however, tags are labels that get attached to things. It works either way, but the “containment” metaphor seems inappropriate for tags… [Tags: ]

2 Responses to “Tagging things or thinging tags?”

  1. on 12 Jan 2008 at 11:31 amGeoff Coupe

    It’s because you can drag the tags themselves into a hierarchy of tags… Try it.

  2. on 14 Jan 2008 at 2:55 pmDean Landolt


    But that’s his point: a hierarchy of tags embodies this “containment” metaphor rather than the flat approach traditionally implied by *tags*. There’s certainly value in a hierarchy, especially if it’s just a pseudo-hierarchy as hinted at by the tree-of-tags metaphore — but, at least to me, calling this structure “tagging” seems like a perversion of the concept. Perhaps, as Weinberger notes, “categories” would be more descriptive.