While we were in the process of redesigning the Cleartrip blog, we often stopped to think about what we had learned from almost 5 years of blogging here. We thought about what features we wished we had or of features we had but wished to heaven didn’t exist.
One of the key things that we were missing was the ability to assign different “types” to blog posts. By “types” we’re referring to something more akin to categories and not tags. We view types and tags as two related, but different approaches to metadata.
A “tag” is one or more labels assigned to a post based on the subject matter of the post. A blog post about Android, Apple and Google, for instance, could receive three different tags–“Android”, “Apple” and “Google”. Tagging also tends to be a free-form classification scheme, where users are not constrained by a defined universe of tags; users can make tags up as they see fit.
A “type” is a broad category into which multiple posts can be assigned without necessarily having basis in the subject matter of the post. A post with a quote from Marc Andreessen and a post with quotes from Albert Einstein can both be assigned the same “type”–they are both assigned “quote” as a type, despite having completely unrelated subject matter. “types” are also more rigid as a classification scheme and do not afford ordinary users the privilege of creating new “types” as they see fit; users must choose from predefined choices.
Tags didn’t really fit our needs for this blog, “types” are a much better and simpler classification system. We didn’t want to get into the overly granular labelling that tags afford, we wanted something that was more broadly applicable. Sometimes a post is an article and sometimes it’s a photo or video or link. We identified six different “types” that accommodate most of the things we post here.
We believe the six “types” that we identified are broad enough and flexible enough to cover all of the different things we talk about on this blog. We’re also really hoping that the ability to assign “types” to posts will result in more frequent updates to the blog because all of us will now have the freedom to do short posts. We haven’t gone back and assigned a type to older posts, but you can look forward to all future posts being, well, “typecast”.
Aside: For anyone that’s wondering, we used WordPress’ support of categories to implement “types” for the new blog design.