Understanding the Usage and Requirements of the Photo Tagging System

Aqdas Malik, Marko Nieminen


The amount of personal photos is massively increasing and managing them effectively and efficiently requires new approaches and practices. This study analyses the users’ needs and their behaviour towards photo tagging in the context of a personal photo repository. Our results are from a qualitative study with 15 users. Study methods include a questionnaire and a task analysis approach in which we analyse and evaluate practices around semi-automated photo tagging. In the task analysis, we describe and use a photo tagging application called SmartImages for studying the actual tagging experience. The results from the study indicate that photo tagging in personal collections is rarely used as it is considered too laborious. The task analysis with SmartImages made users consider tagging worthwhile and beneficial. The results propose changes to the implementation of tagging functionality in photo management applications. We conclude that better visibility of the tagging feature and introducing social elements would improve the usage and benefit of tagging. Providing automated tag suggestions that are comprehensible, conceptually relevant and the relation between the displayed tags and the photo is clear would make users more willing to engage with tagging activities. Addressing the mentioned issues would help the users in managing the increasing number of personal photos.


human–computer interaction, photographic practices, photo tagging, task analysis, user interface design

Full Text: