Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New feature: Categories and Autocategorization

When a new user lands to a web site (like your getImageRight), the first thing he or she tries to figure out is: "How is the content organized? Where do I find stuff I am looking for?" And the obvious hint is the site's navigation. Navigation gives the user direction of where to find stuff and how it's organized. It also tells what's in the site, and what's not.  

In getImageRight, there are section menu horizontally at the top of search bar for different sections like photos, logos, style guide. And more importantly, there is a content menu on the left for navigating within content on that section. This menu is also called category menu.

But how do you build this content menu?

There are essentially three options:
  1. You build the menu yourself
  2. Or you let Autocategorization build it for you
  3. Or both.
Content menu consists of two parts: categories at the top and a menu you build at the bottom of the content menu.

Categories and Autocategorization

Instead of managing the menu yourself, it's now possible to store category information to the images. Originally we didn't think this as necessary as there is no place to store (and import) this information with the images. There is no category field in metadata. Or actually there was. Category field is depreciated, so you shouldn't use it. It's also only 3 characters long, so it's not very usable. We thought keywords were sufficient.

People store different kind of data to keywords: keywords, product numbers, locations, people, events and categories. These are essentially different type of labels applied to an image, but with no information about the type. We are now solving that problem and moving away from keywords as a swiss army knife to specific type of keywords and in the process have added a category label (or tag or keyword however you like to think it).

You can now add categories to images. You can add one, or as many as you like to a image (or group of images). A image can thus be in many categories at the same time.

We have also added a categories part the content menu. This is build automatically based on the categories there are. Categories are filtered by user rights, so a user only sees categories he or she actually have access to. There is also count of images in the category, so people know what's in it.

We also found that people usually organize their images in folders that represents category-style structure. And they would like this organization to be recreated at getImageRight when they upload images. This is important at the getting started phase. So we have added Desktop Uploader Autocategorization feature. Then you upload images, Desktop Uploader adds categories to the images based on the subfolder names they were in.

For example:
You are uploading files from G:\Images. You have DCS0233.JPG on G:\Images\Events\2011\Summer camp\. When you upload images, we'll add category /Events/2011/Summer camp to that image.
You can add additional categories while uploading with Desktop Uploader or at the Web. Just type in the categories separated by comma.

Categories can, and usually are, hierarchic. Start with / to indicate the category is at the root level, then add subcategories. For example /Events/2011/Summer camp creates Events category at the root level, then 2011 underneath it, and Summer camp underneath 2011.

Building and managing content menu:

Content menu can be build and managed at Settings->Categories. The menu is actually a hierarchic list of saved queries or links. You add a category and specify what keywords the category includes. This is stored as a saved search, so to speak. No data is added or altered to your images. Every time a user selects the category, the underlying search is made. So it's always fresh.

Basic category is list of keywords to search for. For more complex searches, you must store the link. You can link to external sites as well. For example, if you logos are on your web site, why not to provide link there.

Drag categories to build hierarchy to your menu.

You can also add dividers to organize menu.

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