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Chapter 9. Retrievability > Provide a complete and consistent index

Provide a complete and consistent index

In technical information, whether online or printed, in help systems or on the Web, users often go to the index first to look for information. You need to predict what information users will look for, and what words they might expect as pointers to that information.

As explained in the completeness chapter, completeness in technical information means neither too much nor too little information, but instead, just the amount that users need to complete their tasks. Indexes in technical information are occasionally too long, and online indexes sometimes have too many variations on an index entry. But it's far more common for indexes to be too short, often because indexing is left until the end of the project, when deadlines are pressing. An index needs to have entries for every important subject that is covered in the information.


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