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Author: havefunsaving Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Ticker Guide Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 597  
Subject: Re: Flossary Guide (Suggestions for Newbies) Date: 11/2/2008 6:29 PM
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This is one of the things that has bothered me about Touchstone, but I have not heretofore articulated it (I don't think).

Nevermind. I should have looked around first, after being gone so long, before posting that.

It looks like you've already come up with a solution to the search by putting in a "search" button in addition to the "go" button!

That said, now that I've seen it, I'm wondering if we couldn't make it even better. As it stands, it reminds me of an IRS webpage search (one of the most frustrating I've ever used, btw), which gives you results that, themselves, are not necessarily user-friendly (although currently, our Touchstone search results far surpass those at the IRS).

Currently, with so few pages in Touchstone, the results page for some items is fairly easy to look at and navigate. But once we've grown to have tens of thousands of pages, many of which may have the term the person is searching for within the page, that results list could get pretty unwieldy.

So... back to my original question... is it possible/feasible to create more of a Google-type search (or at least one that is visually easier on the eyes) that comes up with a more relevant listing from which to choose? For instance, I searched on "cds," and the resulting list put Amazon.com (with "CDs" somewhere on its page) ahead of "Credit default swap," which was number 7 on the list. Then I searched on "stock option," and I got two actual page matches (good), with a long list of text matches that made my eyes glaze over looking through it (bad). Further down the road, with a bazillion pages in Touchstone, what will that list look like? Will it cause the user to throw up their hands in frustration? Quite possibly.

I think ease of use is of paramount importance. Any thoughts out there on how we can achieve a better search functionality? (Unfortunately, this is not perceived as one of TMF's strengths... in the past, doing a search on the discussion boards has frustrated me no end -- and I don't give up easily. I don't even try to use it anymore.)

OTOH, back to something I said in the other post -- would it be easier in the long run to try and come up with some kind of secondary page that we would create that would say something like, "Were you looking for one of these topics?" And then throw links to everything on that page that might apply to what they had typed -- perhaps organized by category, subject, etc. Anything to make seeking the answer to their question easier, more intuitive, and less likely to cause eye-glazing.

At this point, not being a programmer, and not being well-informed on wikis in general, I have more questions than answers. Sorry 'bout that.

Best regards,
Kathie
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