RE: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"

Subject: RE: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 11:58:11 -0500


IMHO, I think most TOCs in online help are unusable, unused, and a waste of
time.

I have a 900-topic HTML-based Help file for an enterprise-wide application.
If I were to construct a typical expand/collapse TOC, it will be in excess
of 15 FEET long (at 5 lines/inch). When viewed in a six-inch tall window, it
is essentially useless.

I have replaced our TOC with a search engine, good organization, and
relevant links on each page. In almost 2 years, no one has complained.

When I presented this approach at WinWriters' Help Technology Update
Conference in August, I expected to get some grief about it. I got none.

Included in my presentation was this quote from Jared Spool, principal and
founder of User Interface Engineering (www.uiw.com):

"In 15 years of testing help systems, not one test subject has used the
TOC."

Let the TOC wars begin!

John

John Garison
Documentation Manager
IDe, Concord, MA
978-402-2907
jgarison -at- ide -dot- com



>>-----Original Message-----
David Downing writes:

>>I just read the article "Designing a Table of Contents" in
>>the November 2002 INTERCOM, and discovered a few things
>>that gave me pause.

<snip>

>>Are my ideas about the TOC somewhat parochial or what?


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Order RoboHelp X3 in December and receive $100 mail in rebate, FREE WebHelp
Merge Module and the new RoboPDF - add powerful PDF output functionality
to RoboHelp X3. Order online today at http://www.ehelp.com/techwr-l

Check out SnagIt - The Screen Capture Standard!
Download a free 30-day trial from http://www.techsmith.com/rdr/txt/twr
Find out what all the other tech writers, including Dan, already know!

---
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.


Follow-Ups:

Previous by Author: RE: Anyone know anything about The Help Factory?
Next by Author: RE: The WSJ spoke to me about Telecommuting
Previous by Thread: RE: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"
Next by Thread: Re: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"


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

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads