Re: Index

Subject: Re: Index
From: Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "Elissa K. Miller" <emiller -at- doubleknot -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 10:57:04 -0500

+1 on the reply!

In addition to what Elissa said, I'll add that the very existence of a well constructed Index helps in the way it operates.

With Search, not only do you have to know the right key words, but you have to fully type them out, then click some button to carry out the action to see the candidate topics that are found.

Generally with an Index, the list of terms automatically scrolls to match what is being typed. So the end user often doesn't have to fully type what they are looking for in order to find the term.

Cheers... Rick :)

On 10/22/2015 10:37 AM, Elissa K. Miller wrote:

Assuming budget and time are available, I almost always fight to include a
human-generated index.

Unless the user knows how to enter their search query with Boolean operators
and/or they already have a good idea what they're looking for, a full-text
search can return so many hits from so many parts of the product that they
have to scroll through dozens of pages to (maybe) find what they're looking
for. And an unsophisticated user will not know how to structure good
queries. (I remember giving a talk about the Internet at a Book Stop in the
early 1990s where a guy wanted to look up Wells Fargo and didn't understand
why "bank" wasn't the search term most likely to give him the answer he
wanted.) For example, where I work now, there are many different ways that
you would issue a refund. If you are an unsophisticated user and you just do
a full-text keywords search on "refund," you'll get more than four dozen
instances of the word "refund" throughout the online help and it places a
lot of cognitive load on an already-frustrated user to figure out which of
the 50 instances of the word is the kind of refund that he's looking for.

Meanwhile, a high-quality index (generated by a thinking human familiar with
the content instead of automatically generated by software) helps people
find what they need quickly because they don't have to construct a perfect
query that includes knowing product terminology--they can just scroll
through the topics until they see what they're looking for.

--Elissa

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+emiller=doubleknot -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+emiller=doubleknot -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Kari Gulbrandsen
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 7:23 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Index

Hello, all --

Are there any reasons to have an index for an online help system with full
text search capability?

Thanks all!

Kari.



--
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Index: From: Kari Gulbrandsen
RE: Index: From: Elissa K. Miller

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