RE: Indexing: how to test an index

Subject: RE: Indexing: how to test an index
From: "Beth Kane" <bethkane -at- tcisolutions -dot- com>
To: <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 14:16:04 -0700

You should always have an experienced editor scrutinize your index. Ideally,
it would be someone who knows the product being documented, to some degree.
The editor should look for such things as completeness, correct structure,
and whether topics (at least the most important ones) are listed in more
than one way. If you have no editors, you might be able to find an agreeable
engineer who's a heavy index user and knows what they should contain.

Secondarily, if you're going to do usability testing, you should find people
who aren't familiar with the product and its terminology, show them various
parts of the application, and ask them to find the pertinent explanations in
the book. This will test whether you have adequate synonyms for everything
in the book. New users often try to look things up in ways that don't
involve the correct terminology, and good indexes allow for that.

Beth Kane
bethkane -at- tcisolutions -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
..what are the things to look out for when testing
an index built from scratch?

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