Just came to know that v1.5 of the open source, highly user-friendly procurement software from coupa.com is released. One feature they tout about is the concept of tagging the items. Check out their tag clouds feature. This is all good. But here is one of the issues when empowering employees to create requisitions. Say there are 25 different pens in the system, how does one know which pen to order? Some characteristics such as fountain pen vs ball-pen, red vs blue will help in narrowing down, but after narrowing down to say 6 to 10, what next?
One way to solve this problem is to have embedded analytics into the application which shows the most popular pens. If you want to go fancy in a web 2.0 fashion, you can even do something like Notebooks/Laptops Image Cloud which is ordered by Amazon’s SalesRank and sized based on the price. Aka tag cloud, but applied to product images.
If you liked tag cloud / keyword cloud concept using text, think of what can be achieved using images instead of text! That is exactly what CloudStore – Online Shopping using Image Clouds from ToCloud does. The Digital SLR Cameras Image Cloud displays all the Digital SLR Cameras from Amazon as an Image Cloud. The cameras are ordered from left-to-right and top-to-bottom using Amazon’s SalesRank while the size of the Image is set to reflect the list price of the digital cameras. So, those digital SLR cameras that are more expensive are shown big while those that are cheap are shown small. Further, the images have a border rendered with different colors. Green indicates a “too low to display” price of Amazon, orange indicates that the sales price on Amazon is less than the list price while Yellow indicates that the list and sales prices are the same.
As far as I know, this is the first instance where a Web 2.0 concept of tag clouds has been implemented for Product Catalogs. What’s cool about this is the fact that it makes use of html image maps to be able to show the user additional information about each product and clicking on a particular product takes the user to the product details page on Amazon.
I have noticed an Image Cloud from chainofthoughts.com listed at wikipedia which seems to have multiple drawbacks. They are, 1) there is no semantics to the ordering of the images 2) each image in the Image Cloud is a separate which ends up requesting several http requests. But perhaps that website is the first to come up with the concept of Image Clouds while ToCloud is perhaps the first to use Image Clouds for Product Catalogs.