Tag all the things!
Goal: Make it more intuitive for an IT pro to tag a person, product or vendor in their reply to a topic.
Tools: Sketch, Principle, Invision
Through research in the Spiceworks community, we found that IT pros were mentioning products, vendors and other IT pros when answering questions within the forums, but not utilizing the existing tagging system.
Tagging a product or vendor in a reply creates a link back to the product or vendor page within Spiceworks for the IT pro to then continue research on the product or vendor, but also allows tech marketers within the community to follow conversations around the products they represent and be able to contribute to the discussion. Tagging another user gives them a notification that you are trying to bring them into the conversation or responding to something they have already said previously in the thread.
Worked with the Community PM, developer and data science team members to brainstorm solutions for improving the tagging system within the forums as well as optimizations the team could make to the databases to make them easier to work with. Here are some of the solutions we came up with.
Current Reply Box UI
- The current tagging system is searching large, separate databases for products, vendors and users. So the search function can lag quite a bit as the IT pro types the resource they’re looking to tag.
- IT pros aren’t aware of the inline shortcut they can use, typing “+” before the resource they’re trying to tag. Rather than the more common “@”.
- Working within a complex and dated system that has many layers and dependencies.
To make it clear that you could tag resource inline as you type we moved the tagging field into the reply field. Along with updated copy IT pros better understood that they can trigger the tagging system as they type instead agging things after they write up their reply.
Updated Reply Box UI
During discussions the developer and PM about how to handle triggering the quick search while typing without affecting load time while searching the databases in real-time, we decided our best option was to use two different triggers for the quick search.
We’d use the more common “@” for tagging another IT pro and “+” for tagging a product or vendor. This way the system will know what is being searched, helping to improve the response time as the IT pro types.
Starting with “+” initiates a vendor or product search and “@” starts a user search.
One thing that came up over and over was that many forum users simply didn’t think to tag products they mentioned in their replies. During on discussion we came up with the idea to scan the users’ reply as they typed.
When the user pauses in typing, the system scan the reply for keywords or phrases that might be a product, vendor or user that can be tagged highlighting them in yellow. The tagging field at the bottom of the reply box also highlights in yellow to draw the users’ attention.
The user can then decide whether they want to tag these items by selecting “Yes” or “No” from the tagging field prompt. Selecting “Yes” engages them into a tagging flow, “No” dismisses the prompt.
System Suggestion Flow
The main updates to the tagging feature are currently in development. The auto-suggestion feature was deprioritized in favor of other projects.