Re: Is Search replacing the TOC and Index?

Subject: Re: Is Search replacing the TOC and Index?
From: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:19:58 -0400

User documentation without a TOC or index is a wiki.

And I don't know about you, but unless I stumble upon the exact title of a
topic, I tend to have trouble finding what I'm looking for in a wiki... At
least I've never had much success with finding things in company wikis,
because they lack organization.

And I see more than enough documentation where when someone says, "this
needs to be documented" the topic just gets stuck anywhere without any
thought for how it relates to the rest of the doc and how we as TWs might
help users find the information via TOC, index, cross-references, etc.


On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 9:36 AM, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
wrote:

> I always include a TOC in my deliverables.
>
> The TOC is to the material what the skeleton is the human body.
>
> The TOC provides a frame of reference.
>
> User documentation without a TOC is an unarticulated pile of information.
>
> ~~Craig
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:
> techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of
> Paula Cristina Vaz
> Sent: Friday, July 11, 2014 6:49 AM
> To: Andrew Harvie
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Is Search replacing the TOC and Index?
>
> Hi there,
>
> I'm a tech writer and I use often search, but typically use the TOC to
> have an idea of the document's content. It also helps me to evaluate the
> importance of the subject that I'm searching for. If my keywords appear in
> the TOC as a section title, it means that the document has a lot to say
> about the subject.
>
> I think that our users and me are using more and more the search tool to
> look for topics, but I think the TOC plays it role in the document
> navigation and as an abstract of the document's content.
>
> --
> Paula Cristina Vaz
> <https://www.l2f.inesc-id.pt/wiki/index.php/Paula_Cristina_Vaz>
>
> âTime is God's messenger.â
> -- Pope Francis in *The Joy of the Gospel*
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 8:36 PM, Andrew Harvie <withanie -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > Based on purely anecdotal evidence, I suspect that many of the people
> > using my documentation are using the Search function to the exclusion of
> all
> > other means of navigation. Heck, even I turn to the search before the
> > table of contents.
> >
> > This might be evidence that I've created a lousy TOC, but I wonder if
> > it isn't also a trend in how people look for information. I've heard
> > that many people will enter URLs into the Google search field instead
> > of the address field and will search for what they already know how to
> find.
> >
> > Just wondering if this is anyone else's experience, and if so, what if
> > anything, are you doing to improve the search experience for your
> readers?
> >
> > My HAT gives me the option of creating context filters for the search,
> > and I'm considering a smallish number of filters that more or less
> > duplicate the major sections of the TOC, which is already organized
> > primarily by user task. Or, perhaps the filters should be
> > feature-based rather than task-based?
> >
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--
Julie Stickler
http://heratech.wordpress.com/
Blogging about Agile and technical writing

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Is Search replacing the TOC and Index?: From: Andrew Harvie
Re: Is Search replacing the TOC and Index?: From: Paula Cristina Vaz
RE: Is Search replacing the TOC and Index?: From: Cardimon, Craig

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