i am also working on Chinese language. For this i am helped by a software which is called Wenlin.
First, something must be clarified : nowadays a lot of Chinese words are built with two or more characters, and a few characters ar not used alone as words.
So i think the sort made by radical character in Chinese dictionaries is working fine, since you can find,...
In most dictionaries I know of, characters are sorted by their Pinyin (拼音). Under that, there's the four tones. After the tones sorting level, it may vary from dictionary to dictionary, but sometimes it's frequency, other times it's something else.
In our education, chinese charactors are sorted by 3 methods:
拼音 (pin yin) - morden method
偏旁部首 - 50 years ago.
笔划 - 50 years ago.
method 1 are very comman and much easier to use.
a - 阿 (a), 安(an), 昂(ang), 袄(ao)
b - 爸 (ba), 半(ban), 帮(bang)
c - 擦 (ca), 餐(can), 仓(cang)
buy a dictionary of "新华字典", you can find it.
Chinese dictionaries index the entries by Radical (部首) and Strokes (筆劃)
The character 人 is also it's radical. It is listed first in the 亻radical section
Radical: 亻 (#9)
Stroke count: 2
The radical of the character 仁 is 亻 and it has four strokes, therefore, it is listed after 人 in the 亻 radical section because 仁 has two strokes more than 人