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Styling the index: is it time for a change?

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Two empirical studies on the effects of indexing styles are presented. The research shows that there is an intricate relationship between task complexity and search efficiency afforded by style. A Run-In index yields the best performance when people engage in a search in which keyword and entry are identical. A Flush Right style, with leader dots to prevent line switching, yields the best performance for more complex search tasks as compared to a Run-In or an Indented style. It is argued that a clear visual separation between entry and locator may help the user in keeping apart the distinct goals of searching for an entry and looking for a locator.

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