Thoughts on adding XOXCO-style tag input by default?

I think tag entry UX is pitiful in Elgg right now. We of course need to add help text to let users know they're separated by commas (why are we assuming they would know this??), but I'm much more happy with the style of tag entry used by Delicious and other sites.

XOXCO has a jQuery plugin that implements this UI and I've integrated it in this plugin (code repo has latest). I've not evaluated this on mobile devices, but it's been much nicer on desktops and I'd like Elgg to have something like this in core for 1.9.

Thoughts? How are most of you dealing with tag entry usability?

(P.S. Please keep tag autocompletion in a separate topic. That requires much more/bigger decisions and a spec. E.g. do user A's tags autocomplete for user B? If not, why not, and always or sometimes? What if users enter offensive tags? etc.)

  • Fully agree we need to improve. We thought about Tagit ourselves...

  • i like your xoxco plugin, i just installed it, a major improvement.

    tagit also looks friendly.

  • Right now we're not really dealing with tag usability at all, just default interface and assuming people know what to do.  This may be why tags are under-utilized though.  I like this interface though.

  • I'm fully agree too! we need to improve this feature!!!

    Also, elgg 1.9 must be improved by more and more interesting features...

    I love ELGG! :)

    But now, if to be honest, ELGG lags behind other scripts of social networks by possibilities that proves by People’s Choice Winner for Best Social Networking Solution (

    1. Oxwall
    3. phpFox
    4. Elgg
    5. SocialEngine


  • @Tom, I evaluated Tagit, too, but I can't remember why I chose XOXCO over it. May have been ease of integration or I just preferred its default style.

    @Evgeniy, please don't hijack threads with unconstructive criticism.

  • XOXCO's jQuery plugin is beautiful. The style's fantastic and the easy autocomplete is pretty nifty too - potentially useful for solving those "fuzzy tagging" issues where someone tagspoodleand someone else usespoodles. Elgg's access permissions and contexts could be pretty powerful in that context - imagine autocompleting from tags that had previously been used inside this particular group only, or by all my friends.

  • I have a slight concern that the Matthew Effect (the rich get richer while the poor get poorer) looms large here. I know this having built such a thing many moons ago - you get way more diverse and fine-grained tags when you don't prompt people with previously chosen tags, and in many cases the serendipity is worth preserving. You get a richer sense of what really interests a community and more effective way to find what you are looking for. Fuzzy can be good. I like the interface though - very nice!

  • That's the beauty of autocomplete: you can still type whatever you like, but the richness of the existing community is exposed as you type. Take your point about not prompting people, but these days there are a lot of people who've never been exposed to tagging before, and may need hand-holding ...

  • Going back to Steve's original point about UX, perhaps there are ways Elgg could give hints about how to separate tags?

    For example, for blank fields, HTML5 has the "placeholder" attribute, which could be used to provide some description. Another, more backwards-compatible method might be to include an unobtrusive line of text below the field, or have a friendly tooltip when you click into it.

  • Plan for now:

    • #4920 Add help text for tags input (1.8.10)
    • #4921 Add JS-enhanced UI for tag entry, like Tagit or XOXCO (1.9)

    Feel free to contribute to these tickets!

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Feedback and Planning

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