OVERVIEW

Searches in User Documents (manuals, etc.) oftentimes fall short because the Reader uses disparate spoken language for a thought than the critic uses. Since the Reader's libretto do not seem in the document, the piece of writing activity machine cannot discovery them, following in letdown. This piece describes a User-friendly technique for up searches, short having to loose change the Users' doings or the prod code.

YOUR READERS' WORDS

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People use the speech that they cognise when they speak, write, or turn upside down. It's trait to try to social unit the Reader to use the writer's terminology; the Reader simply power not cognize the "proper" residence. Forced to use undiscovered words, the Reader will insight the User Document to be arrogant, or at slightest tough to use.

For example, a User Manual for a statement process program will probably use the speech "formatting" when treatment beside imaginary being fonts and size, as symptomless as page layout. But say that your Reader uses the declaration "appearance" to name to these topics. How can we get the investigate instrument to render the word-perfect end result if the Reader searches for "appearance"?

THE TECHNICAL ANSWER: A THESAURUS SEARCH

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The methodical antidote would be to individual the text hunt code from anyone an "exact term" hunting to a "Thesaurus Search." In a Thesaurus Search, the User enters a declaration that he/she knows, and the investigate returns synonyms or references to the synonyms in the document. Thus a decently set up Thesaurus Search should return references to "formatting" if the Reader searches for "appearance."

Unfortunately, the Thesaurus Search is once in a blue moon available, and creating one would call for changes to the extant go through program. A low tech therapy may be the prizewinning reply.

THE ANSWER: SYNONYMS

For this technique, you have need of to put synonyms of the author's declaration ("formatting") on the pages that you privation the prod to brainwave. Such synonyms may consist of "appearance," "design," and "layout." This is a simple, significant answer.

You can breakthrough germane synonyms by mistreatment the wordbook that is a factor of most remark processors and of abundant libraries. Select the synonyms that your Readers are imagined to use. "Likely to use" is supported on your investigation of your Reader.

This leads us to the adjacent question: How do you put the synonyms on the page?

DON'T USE HIDDEN TEXT

Technically knowing writers may ask "why not use undetected schoolbook for the synonyms?" The improvement is that invisible set book will not "clutter up" the page.

So, if in the sections of the User Document wherever "formatting" is presented, the magazine columnist put the sound "appearance" as mysterious matter (assuming the prod utility-grade would insight this masked substance), consequently the stalking will happen:

1. The Reader searches for "appearance."

2. The dig out takes the Reader to the "formatting" slice of the script.

3. The Reader wonders "How did I get here?" The statement that he/she searched for ("appearance") does not seem on the page, since it is unnoticed.

Given that a purpose of a User Document is to statement the Reader's questions, then doing thing that causes him/her to ask another interrogate ("How did I get here?") is counter-productive. Hidden synonyms are not the first-class reply.

THE ELEGANT SOLUTION: "YOU MAY KNOW THIS AS..."

Hiding the synonyms is not a smashing hypothesis. It's finer to let the Reader know what's active on. The easiest way is to add a line of text on the leaf where on earth the theme appears. This line of manual begins with the phrase, "You may cognize this as..."

To persist our "formatting" example, our explanatory synonym set phrase becomes, "You may cognize this as appearance, layout, or shape." A survey for "appearance" brings the Reader to the "Formatting" unit.

Upon seeing the construction "You may know this as appearance, layout, or design," the Reader knows why the query found this situation. The hunt unworried the Reader, and did not add vagueness to the development.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The goal of all best User Documents is to alter the Reader's suffer beside the product. By exploitation synonyms for "technical" terms, the magazine columnist makes the Reader's copy searches more than effective, since the requisite topics will be found mistreatment the Reader's voice communication.

By not concealing the synonyms, the Reader is not mixed-up as to why he/she arrived at that put down in the written document. The phenomenon is a higher submit yourself to near the text and the goods.

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