What is / are the fundamental difference(s) between Icon and Tag markers?

JamesAK shared this question 20 months ago
Discussion Open

Asides from where they appear in a topic what is the difference between an icon marker and tag marker?

Is there any advantage of using one over the over in particular situations and if so, then could you supply a list (exhaustive or otherwise) of what those situations might be.


I'm thinking:

Icons should be used to give immediate & easy visual context with universally recognisable symbols

Tags should be used to convey more complex or nuanced contexts that an icon could not immediately convey with a recognisable symbol.


Is that it? Icons are universally recognisable symbols and where there isn't one that can convey the context needed then create and use tag markers?


Thanks in advance


James.

Best Answer
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While icons are helpful as a quick form of visual classification,

I rely on tags a lot more. I’ve developed a practice of using them as the basis for the qualitative analysis of survey results, interview transcripts and text submissions. This is an iterative process in which I use tags to summarise key ideas as I read through the material, tagging sections of subsequent interviews and texts where the same ideas crop up. At the end of this process I have a list of the key themes people have raised and how many times they have been identified. I can also rank the results for a specific interview question against any quantitative data (eg, the location and role of the respondent) as well as against the results for another question.

Obviously this would be almost impossible to replicate with icons. I’m also aware that there is specialist survey software available which can do this but in my experience the cost and complexity aren’t justified for small research interview or survey projects involving, say, up to 20 respondents.

Replies (3)

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Hello James

Tags give much finer-grained resolution than Icons. A group of related icons will probably be harder to distinguish from each other if there are more than ten or twelve of them, whereas you could use a couple of hundred tags in a group with little risk of confusion.

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H'lo Nick


I think you're nearly in agreement with me but aren't committing because there isn't a definitive MM position on the two. It feels like tags were introduced to get past limited iconography but was never properly agreed in terms of an explanation.

I'm content with both our explanations and looking back at old maps it seems that I have opted for heavy usage of tags over icons.


Thank you for taking the time.

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While icons are helpful as a quick form of visual classification,

I rely on tags a lot more. I’ve developed a practice of using them as the basis for the qualitative analysis of survey results, interview transcripts and text submissions. This is an iterative process in which I use tags to summarise key ideas as I read through the material, tagging sections of subsequent interviews and texts where the same ideas crop up. At the end of this process I have a list of the key themes people have raised and how many times they have been identified. I can also rank the results for a specific interview question against any quantitative data (eg, the location and role of the respondent) as well as against the results for another question.

Obviously this would be almost impossible to replicate with icons. I’m also aware that there is specialist survey software available which can do this but in my experience the cost and complexity aren’t justified for small research interview or survey projects involving, say, up to 20 respondents.

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I've been using MindManager for so long, I can't remember if icon markers were all that was initially available and tag markers later incorporated to extend the labelling capability.

I suspect I transitioned to using tags a lot more after watching one of Nick's excellent webinars from back in the day.


Somebody at Mindjet or Corel really ought to update the help pages, as I don't think they do the product justice.

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I think tags have been around for while. The big change as I recall it was when it became possible to use a tag with the same name in different tag groups. Before them you couldn't use, say, "Yes" and "No" as tags more than once even in different groups, which severely limited their usefulness. I had to resort to tricks such as prefixing each tag with the question number, so instead of Yes and No I would have "Q1Yes" and "Q1No" in one group and "Q2Yes" and ""Q2No" in another, etc.

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Related comment: it looks like there is not a way to have tags persist across maps - is this correct? I am looking to create 'global tags' and be able to find references to those tags across files.

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Not quite sure what you mean by “global tags”, but there are several ways to transfer tags between maps. For example, you can create and save tags in a template and you can always copy tag groups in one map and paste them in another. You can also create a dummy topic, apply all the tags in the map to it then send that topic as a “carrier” of these tags to another map.

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Thanks Alex, those are workarounds, but I am looking for having custom tags available across maps similar to the 'Kanban' tags

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