Just so you know, Thunderbird just gives an item the colour of the first selected tag.
Thunderbird does have another nice touch: the tags to which colours are assigned are displayed in that colour. If Zotero could do that in the tag selector (and possibly the Tags pane in the right panel) it would make for a nice visual reminder of what's what.
devs have said that colored tags will be implemented and most of the code, as I understand, is already included in the 3.0b.
I have one suggestion and one open question. First the open question. Should zotero enforce exclusivity? I mean, should zotero remove all other colored tags when I assign a new colored tag to an item so that an item can only have one colored tag. That would be the same behavior as in Mac OS X, for example. When I assign a new color, the others are removed. I can see that such a behavior might be confusing but my idea is that people quickly want to mark items and assign a color to them. Doing that with items that already have a colored tag gets tedious because you first have to delete and then assign the right tags. Maybe it would be possible to provide this functionality as an option so that the user can chose how colored tags behave.
And here is my suggestion: Because I think people want to quickly assign colors to items it would be great to have a right-click menu item for zotero items that expands and lets you select a tag from those you have assigned a color to. So when I right click on a zotero item, I imagine a 'Assign Colored Tag to Item' menu that expands and lets you select one of the tags you have colored. Does that make sense?
For assigning, Thunderbird allows you to assign and unassign tags via number keys, which is quite handy. If we borrow that, we could also address the multiple-tags issue by having the associated number imply the order (e.g., 1–6, with 1 being the highest priority). I'm not opposed to a context menu option as well, but we already have two ways in the UI to assign tags, and the context menu is getting pretty full.
My other thought was to show colored tags at the beginning of the tag selector list (in their assigned order, which would also remind you of which number they were) rather than alphabetically among the other tags.
I don't think the context menu is that full - three sections so far with seven options in total. I would prefer the Thunderbird-like context menu option since I usually keep the tag selector closed to see my collections and groups. The way I have always conceptualized it, the number keys in Thunderbird are shortcuts for the context menu options (which mention the numbering).
I assume you're referring to the Tags pane on the right as another way to assign tags. That would in fact be another possible place for this interface: list the coloured tags atop that panel so that clicking them (in addition to the option of typing them) applies the tag. There is more room in that Tags panel than in the context menu.
It essentially adds a very small column that shows the colors of the colored tags for that task. It's visually very clear, and it allows the use of two or more colored tags. The addition of a column should not be very relevant, because it doesn't use that much space (more than three colored tags for a single reference would be extremely rare...).
I don't see what use cases could not be benefited by doing things this way...
If I'm not too greedy I would have both.
Coloured tags would be more for medium / long term categorisation.
Coloured items are very noticeable, so I would use them to label a book/article which I read or a few books which are relevant for chapter which I'm working on.
This option is it considered ? Maybe for version 3 or 3.1 ?
(PS) Thank you for the version 3b. It's really good!)
I don't understand why "This isn't happening for 3.0."
Wouldn't it be easy enough to add tags to the list of items that can be selected for columns (Title, Creator, type, etc.) in the center panel? (I apologize if this was already suggested).
And, if you let the user decide how wide the tag column is, she can (rightfully) manage her own screen real estate.
I hope this helps,
But I understand that most users are not really into shortcuts like me and others, even though it is way quicker.
I actually don't understand your suggestion about the middle panel -
I'm all for allowing users to add more regular fields as columns, but items presumably have multiple tags, displaying them in a column seems messy and not intuitive to me at all - it's also not something that any of the interfaces Zotero would model color-coded tags after (gmail, notably, but there are some others) do.
> I actually don't understand your suggestion about the middle panel
I was thinking that a quick implementation could be easy enough to do, assuming it would not be totally inconsistent with a fancy one (with colors, etc.) that could be done later.
> items presumably have multiple tags, displaying them in a column seems messy and not intuitive to me at all
For the near term, one approach to deal with multiple tags would be to display only the *first* tag, where the tags for a given item are interpreted as an ordered list. Another approach would be to display all of the tags for an item, e.g., separated by commas, and let the user control the width of the column to see as many as make sense for their library.
> it's also not something that any of the interfaces Zotero would model color-coded tags after (gmail, notably, but there are some others) do.
I am not sure that a column-less display of tags is a good approach for zotero items, which can indeed look messy:
Example of how I would love to see this happening: Just color marked!
one could just go and define colors (voluntarily applicable... none applied if you don't) to tags and/or have an option to show the color of tags or not.
The same would then apply to the tag selector: click ...
In my eyes this ability would increase usability noticeably... since we have the ability to see color, it lets you find certain things way easier, wouldn't even have to click on tags in the tag selector to see what's where.... I'd love this!
After thinking about it, this makes way more sense then assigning a "rating" to your entries, just create a tag for that (I have just created tags with stars anyways as you see in the tag-selector-image).
What is that "the next version after 3.0."
"Full" version (like 4.0) or minor (like 3.1)?
Very much an ergonomic advantage I can use to promote Zotero at my institute some more. People that don't even know this is possibly usually fly for the stuff once they see how helpful it is.
(from a post above)
That would give the user two ways to display colored tags. Either by coloring the line or by adding a column to the item view such as in the screenshot. The line coloring, of course, is limited to just one tag color whereas the column can display multiple tag colors. If both options are implemented, the user could choose....