3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 27, 2008 9:43 AM by Author care

    Search returning strange results

    SamDavidson
      I know the quirks of the search function have been discussed many times on here but I have another question. Let me preface by saying that I am using RoboHelp 7 and my output is FlashHelp Pro. Also, an index is not really an option for the type of information I have in this help file.

      So here is what is happening....If I search for the word 'copay' all of the appropriate topics come up. If I search for 'co-pay' (All of my topics only contain the spelling without the hyphen) it returns only a few results that all have either the word 'pay' or words containg the letter sequence 'co' somewhere in the word. It is returning topics with words such as 'coverage' 'cost' 'income'. These words appear in hundreds of topics but yet the search only returns a few topics. Obviously I would like the search to not return these results at all but what has me really confused is why it returns some but not others. This is confusing to my end users who do not know which way to spell the word and when results come up for 'co-pay' they think that those are the only topics relevant when actualy they are the only ones that are not relevant. Sorry if that was very long winded. If anyone has any advise I would really appreciate it. Thank you.
        • 1. Re: Search returning strange results
          Level 2
          Sam,

          I'll preface by saying I am not much of a fan of search functions (or "googling" as it is now known),but here are some thoughts:

          If you have a few key items, like "co-pay," that can confuse the user, you can add those to your content and hopefully the search will put these at the top. For example, you could write "copay (sometimes written as 'co-pay')" in the first instance where it is introduced.

          It is hard to foresee what the user might search for, but this is the same thought process you would use in creating an index. Instead of index items, you would be adding them in the content.

          Otherwise, you would need to instruct your users on how to use the search function - when to use quotes, AND, etc.

          John
          • 2. Re: Search returning strange results
            SamDavidson Level 1
            I am also not a fan of the search function but as hard as I try I just cant persuade my users not to use it. So, that being said, I have tried to teach them how to use it properly to no avail. And in my experience with RoboHelp search function, quotation marks do not work as they should, or at least as they do with most searches. Maybe searching for things will furstrate them to the point of not using it and my goal can be acheived via that route haha.
            • 3. Search returning strange results
              Author care Level 2

              Still might be worth using an index. If you can demonstrate the two side by side you may find you succeed, especially as an index can find something on the first one or two letters of what you're lookng for. When I explain this to users I generally explain about search being based largely on topic title, where as indexes are free of said limitation....