Indices and not-indices? (take II)

Subject: Indices and not-indices? (take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: Tech Whirlers <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Kevin Elmore <kelmore -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 14:21:33 -0400

Seem to have missed the original message, but Kevin included the
following quote: <<Maybe 5% even open the index other than by
accident when using search.>>

Where did this statistic come from? Is it a PSWAG (pseudoscientific
wild-ass guess), or does it come from a published study in a
reputable journal? I'll concede the point that almost everyone uses
search at least once before trying something else, but the 5% number
sounds highly suspect to me.

I recall a well-controlled study many years ago (maybe Jared Spool?
I'd have to dig really deep to find it, so don't blame him if I got
this wrong) that suggested most users start with the search tool,
then move to the index if they don't find what they want by
searching. I suspect this varies greatly depending on how abstruse
the keywords are that are used by your software (the weirder the
words, the more likely a non-expert user will not know them and will
have to resort to synonyms), but it makes a lot of sense to me; it's
certainly how I look for information, and it's how I've seen others
look for information.

Treat that as anecdotal evidence; I haven't collected any statistics
other than for myself.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Indices and not-indices: From: Kevin Elmore
RE: Indices and not-indices: From: Combs, Richard
Re: Indices and not-indices: From: Kevin Elmore

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