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

Subject: RE: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 13:56:15 -0500


What if you only listed Heading level 1?

FWIW, engineers at my company use the TOC first, index second, and
seldom fire-up the search. Personally, I'd prefer they just use the
index, I put a lot of work into it.

Cheers,

Sean

-----------------------------------------
Sean Brierley
Software Documentation Specialist
Haestad Methods
http://www.haestad.com
203-805-0572 (voice)
203-597-1488 (fax)



-----Original Message-----
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com [mailto:jgarison -at- ide -dot- com]

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."

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