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Subject:Re: Index entries in online help From:Deborah Hemstreet <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Thu, 24 Jun 2010 11:17:43 -0400
Regarding item #2, we all need to know which SW you are using to help.
Regarding how many index entries for a topic - this really boils down to
how the end-user is going to look for information.
Let's take your Bill Codes example. If the information is critical to
the user, you want them to find it. HOW they get there is your job. So
you might do the following: (A colon indicates a second level index entry)
==========================These next items will probably have other
stuff there, for example========================
In addition, you might want to use synonyms, this is where the "See
Also" or "See" becomes important. A See Also entry is going to provide
links to a topic, but also suggest the user look at another entry in the
index. To the best of my knowledge it does not link to that other entry
in the index.
For example, if your software used to call their Bill Codes "Processing
Numbers" you might want to have "Processing Number:See Bill Codes"
(However your Help SW does it)
You want to provide as many different paths for your users to quickly
find the required information as possible.
If you only mention Creating Bill Codes in several topics - you would
NOT index to those. However, if there is important information about
creating bill codes in a particular additional topic, you would index it.
For example, I do not index any of my overview topics. They are there to
provide cohesion and continuity for a linear reader. But if the overview
topics are never read - no one is going to suffer. (some might argue,
then why put them in at all - if the client wants it - they get it!!!)
The point is, the index points to important information. It requires
getting into the mind of your end-user, and trying to think like they
would. How would they look for the information?
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