Summary – Supercharging Search

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Presented by: Daniel Ferguson

“When was the last time we looked at the Table of Contents or Index online?”, began Daniel in his very informative presentation about supercharging the search experience.

These days, most of the times, the user doesn’t care how content is structured, so long as they find what they are searching for, so why do we tend to spend more time designing navigation hierarchy than the search experience?

According to Daniel, and rightly too, we need to design the search experience. He advocates working on this premise:
a. Research for users are going to use search
b. What search methods does audience find most useful?
c. What keywords are users likely to search for?

Well designed and usable search increases the value of what you offer to your customers.

With Flare v11, the search mechanism has changed drastically. The Flare 11 HTML Search Engine works on the following parameters:

  • Relevance – Results ranked based on where and how frequently keywords appear
  • Importance – Number of links to a topic

Flare 11 also follows a Keyword Relevance Ranking, while searching for topics in an output. More info: http://webhelp.madcapsoftware.com/flare11/Content/Search/Optimizing_Search/Ranking_Search_Results.htm
Daniel gave us some best practices we could use while building the search experience:
a. Topic title – Keep the title fewer than 70 characters.
b. Try and use a “|” in the title tag. Google search advocates the use of this character for search.
c. All the topics in your Content Explorer are built and added to the search index by default, even the topics that aren’t linked in the TOC, but you can include/exclude content from search on a topic level or target level.
d. Use synonyms for commonly misspelt words

Daniel then showed us the power of search filters and how to create these:
a. Add concepts
b. Apply them to topics
c. Create search filters based on concepts
d. Select Search Filter for target

This session was very well received because quite a few of the writers understand the importannce of “search” while creating content these days. Daniel’s presentation covered a whole lot of the important things we need to focus on while writing content in Madcap Flare.

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