Archive for December, 2008

Tweaking the community search results

I’m fairly certain this blog entry won’t interest you. I’m writing this for Google. By posting a link on this blog, I can send a message to Google that certain links should be promoted.

Our Community Help page uses the Google Custom Search Engine. Currently, searching for “Preflight” on the Community Help page yields unexpected results. The first result — which I don’t want to link to because I don’t want to promote it — goes to a community web page that does a fine job of describing the Preflight workflow — for InDesign CS3. As you may know, InDesign CS4 has a revamped Preflight feature. Another problem is that a less significant Help topic appears higher on the list than this one. Or this one. Or this one.

It’s a problem that the first topic deals with CS3 content. If someone starts InDesign CS4, chooses Help > InDesign Help, searches for “Preflight,” and clicks the first link, she’s done exactly what she’s supposed to do. And now she’s reading misleading information. We’re not allowed to manually boost or demote websites — that’s all handled by Google. However, we can boost certain pages by linking to them. A more drastic option is to exclude websites. I can do that, but I prefer not to.

Fortunately, “preflight” is the only search term that’s yielding poor results. All the other search terms seem fine to me. There are a couple of Help topics that should be appearing higher in the list of search results:

Masters

Mail merge

Word count

New Help Topics

One of the nice things about having Help on the Web is that I can update the Help files between releases. If someone points out an error or omission, I can edit the source files, and a couple weeks later, it’s as though the files were never wrong.

I can also add new topics. As I’ve been analyzing search data and survey comments, I realized I missed a few things.

A Complete List of Videos

Even though I had already blogged about videos, several people requested a list of videos organized by topic. Your wish is my command. I created a new Help topic that organizes videos by subject.

The Navigator panel

When I heard that the program team was removing the Navigator panel, I made the mistake of deleting the old topic rather than leaving it in and explaining what happened to the feature. “Navigator” ended up being the #4 search term in November. Ouch. So I added a new topic cleverly entitled, “About the Navigator panel.” I explain that it’s been replaced by Power Zoom.

Contact Sheets

“Contact sheets” was a top 10 search entry, but there’s nothing in Help on the Web that tells people how to create contact sheets. Fortunately, a few bloggers and authors have written about using Adobe products to create contact sheets, so if people did a search, they were most likely able to find something to help them out. Still, if people search only within Help, I don’t want them to draw the dreaded “No results found” message. So I created a topic called “Creating contact sheets.”

Foreign Affairs

Every now and then, someone asks how to edit Japanese or Arabic text in InDesign. Even though I create an entirely different Help system for Asian versions of InDesign, I realized I never pointed this out to English customers in Help. So I wrote a new topic called “Working with additional languages.”

If you notice any errors in these new topics, or if you’re aware of any other gaps or mistakes in InDesign Help, please let me know. Just leave a comment.

News Flash — Change the Default InDesign Help Page

When you choose Help > InDesign Help, the Community Help and Support Page opens. Some people have told Adobe that they’d prefer opening the main Help on the Web page. Now, you can select an option to start on that page.

Here’s how to change the default:

1. Open the main Help on the Web page.

2. Select the “Help on the Web” option.

HelpWeb5.jpg

Keep in mind that no matter which option you go with, you can always click a link to jump to the other page. In my mind, it makes sense to route Help > InDesign Help to Help on the Web. If I want to go to the Community Help and Support page, I can choose Help > Online Support.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’ll pass them along.