How can I categorize tangibility?



  • Our company is developing a new project dealing with tangible, intangible and combined media types.

    My problem is that we cannot find a suitable taxonomy or name for filtering and facet search.

    The correct name in Spanish would literally translate to Media Support in English, which is really confusing because it sounds like the label for something that is supported by media. We tested this with English-speaking users, and although we only tested a limited number of users, the answer was unanimous, as expected.

    Open-ended questions and qualitative research did not yield an answer other than "media type," which we use for a different taxonomy.

    So we thought of Tangibility, just like that. But again, user testing showed that it wasn't direct enough to understand what the filter was about when the options were not open (the default setting for all filters is a closed tab). Also, the respondents had a high level of education, and I assume this concept is a bit more obscure for people with a lower level of education or some non-native speakers.

    An additional note: This UI will initially exist in 3 different languages, but the problem is only English. And a correct English label may or may not change labels in the other languages, depending on whether or not the English label fits the other languages (Spanish and Italian). This is not a problem, I just mention it in case it helps with the answer.

    So we are left with this:

    1. Find a better taxonomy or label
    2. Change UI to keep this tab open. For consistency, it would require to have most tabs open as well, which is not a big problem, but it is kind of a problem since we have many filters
    3. Something else?


  • "Support" is definitely faux amis with the Romance languages meaning. The correct translation is "format".

    Of course, "format" might be taken by a file format field or something. We would also use "type", though that has the same caveat. "Kind" if you really need to avoid this overlap.

    And no need to speak of tangibility. We would just say physical, digital, or combined/both.

    A common example would be a book.

    — What format did you read it in?
    — Oh, I have the physical book.
    — Cool. I just have a digital PDF.




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