Re: Looking for the Bingo (was Get to the point?)

Subject: Re: Looking for the Bingo (was Get to the point?)
From: Sandy Harris <sandy -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2000 17:41:40 -0400

Michael West wrote:
>
> Dan Emory wrote:
>
> >
> > I thought it was guite clear that I was not criticizing the on-line
> > help medium, but instead the predominant form that it has taken,
> > namely WinHelp-style help based on a keyword/index system.
> >
>
> Apologies to Dan Emory. Somehow I've missed the point.
>
> I still don't understand the relevance of "WinHelp-style help
> based on a keyword/index system".
>
> Can a WinHelp help system not have a well-designed table of
> contents and well-placed "See also" links? Is there something
> inherent in "keyword indexes" that leads to poorly designed
> help systems?
>
Yes, if they're the whole system is based on them, if the
keyword index is all you get.

Methinks the minimum for an online system today is:

a table of contents
a bunch of see also links
full text search of whole document set for
when user is desparate

Ideally, it should have several more mechanisms:

a formal index
efficient full text search with boolean
operators, based on some form of compiled index
search based on keyword labelling of sections,
e.g. in meta tags
permuted indexes of
section headings, e.g. see
http://www.freeswan.org/freeswan_trees/freeswan-1.5/doc/perm.html.html
summary lines ot other special text
(e.g. permuted index of traditional Unix man pages)
carefully thought out cross-references between reference (how it works)
sections and how to use it sections

Different users have different tasks, interests, requirements, knowledge,
learning styles, search styles, time pressures, ... Our goal should be to
provide as many effective search mechanisms as we can, giving users the
choice of which to use.




Previous by Author: Re: Get to the point?
Next by Author: Re: Keeping synchronized
Previous by Thread: Re: Looking for the Bingo (was Get to the point?)
Next by Thread: Re: Looking for the Bingo (was Get to the point?)


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads