January 13th, 2009

Tag, you’re it! Productivity through tagging and color coding.

Tagging items has become one of the hallmarks of modern web applications.  Delicious and FireFox allow you to tag your bookmarks, Facebook lets you tag people in photos. Flickr supports tagged pictures. Blogs permit you to tag your posts. The list goes on and on.

Tags are incredibly useful because they enable categorization of items in a dynamic and natural way.  Items can have multiple tags and you can make them up yourself as you go, so that they are meaningful to you and in the context in which you are working.

The odd thing is that tags are not yet very prevalent in most mainstream email programs (except perhaps Gmail) and collaboration tools like contacts, calendars, etc. This is where LuxSci jumps in.  LuxSci has had full tag support since June, 2007; in recent months, tagging has become easier and more powerful due to updates to our GUI (graphical user interface).

Tagging and Color Coding Your Email

LuxSci’s WebMail allows you to tag your email messages to help your organize them within your folders.  Tags facilitate collaboration in email folders and assignment of email messages.  You can also associate colors with your tags which allows you to color code your email to help you sort them visually. Email tagging is not a feature available from most providers.  Only LuxSci WebMail, and a few email clients, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, support email tagging.

Tagging email helps productivity when you:

  • Organize email within your folders
  • Search for and group email by tag
  • Color code your email messages so you can quickly identify certain kinds of email messages
  • Tag messages so that they are visible to any user accessing those messages via WebMail or IMAP (if they use a program like Thunderbird that supports tags).

Tagging in Calendars, Address Books, and Tasks

LuxSci’s WebMail interface also includes our WebAides:  Address Books and Calendars, Tasks, Documents, Journals, Links, Groups, Notes, and Passwords tools.  All WebAides support the use of Tags to color code and organize your information.

Unified Use of Tags

The use of tags in LuxSci is unified across WebMail, and all collaboration tools like Address Books, Calendars, and Tasks.  This means that you can use the same set of tags with the same set of colors to consistently mark up and categorize your information across all of our collaboration tools.

Global Tags

For accounts with many users, administrators can pre-configure “global” tags on an account-wide and/or domain-wide basis.

Benefits of Global Tags:

  • Allows administrators to define a uniform set of tags that all users can see and use
  • Provides consistency in tagging terminology across users
  • The colors for global tags can be defined and personalized by each individual user
  • Eliminates the need for users to “setup tags” and also eliminates the accidental use of different tags for the same purpose due to spelling errors.

How do You Tag Something?

How to Tag WebMail and WebAides:

  1. Select one or more email messages or WebAide entries in the user interface.
  2. Open the “Tag” dialog box one of three ways:
    1. Select the “Tag” command from the submenus of commands, or
    2. Click on the “Tag” toolbar command (you can customize what commands appear in your tool bars in your Preferences), or
    3. Press “Shift-T”
  3. Once in the “Tag” dialog box, you can add and remove tags to/from all selected items at once.
    1. Create new tags “on the fly” and assign color codes to them if you need to tag something new.
    2. Assign one or more tags that has previously been used in this email folder or WebAide by yourself or someone else in the account.
    3. Update your own personal Tag list with tags previously used in this email folder or WebAide by others in your account.
    4. Add other tags from your personal tag list or from the list of defined global tags
    5. Remove some or all existing tags
    6. Press “OK”

Once you have tagged some things, you could also use the “Tag” toolbar command to add/remove tags very quickly without resorting to the Tag dialog box.

The tag dialog box is very powerful and allows you to quickly manage tags for a large number of entries.  The dialog is the samefor managing tags in email and for other collaboration tools like Address Books.

The Tag dialog box also facilitates collaboration if you share an email folder or calendar, for example, with other people; you can use your own personal tags plus the tags that others have created without having to “set anything up”.

Ok, Once Things Are Tagged, Then What?

Once you have tagged email messages or WebAide entries, you can:

  • View tagged entries in different colors based on whatever colors you assign to the individual tags.  These colors are personal preferences and can be changed at any time.
  • Search for items containing one or more specific tags to narrow down the scope of what you are viewing.
  • Copy or Move items containing one or more specific tags to a different folder.

Why are Tags Good for Collaboration?

When you have multiple people using the same shared email folders or shared Address Books and Calendars…

  • Tags provide an easy way to assign things to specific users or groups.
  • Tags make it easy to create a consistent categorization scheme that everyone can use.
  • Tags allow one person to see and use the tags that others have used without needing to recreate tags for each user.
  • Tags in email are viewable and editable in IMAP email programs, like Mozilla Thunderbird, that support “IMAP Keywords”, so are not limited to using LuxSci’s tags only for LuxSci’s web-based email.
  • Tags in the WebAides collaboration tools are exported as “categories” and thus can be visible in Outlook and other programs.

One Response to “Tag, you’re it! Productivity through tagging and color coding.”

  1. Tag Enhancements for Email and Collaboration | LuxSci FYI Says:

    […] Tag, you’re it! Productivity through tagging and color coding […]

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