Thursday, April 08, 2010

Uses For FAQs

Anyone who has felt frustrated by not finding an answer to their specific problem in a long list of question answered in a website's FAQ section will agree with Stephen Gracey's post on FAQs - what they are good for and not.

If the site is designed right and with feedback from users as the author recommends, the common queries should go away.Should thousands of people be asking the same question without content in the site that makes the answer self-evident, a FAQ is not the solution to the problem. The high frequency question could be treated as an opportunity for improvement instead of a quick band-aid style fix by shoving it into the FAQ section. Gracey suggests the following to ensure questions from users are being tracked and addressed in a meaningful way :

Are there, in fact, any questions users ask frequently? Don’t just add them to your FAQ in the name of completeness. Sort the questions into piles. Look for common words. Count the frequency of occurrences. As soon as you see a pattern, look for ways to address it elsewhere in your content.

Not only does this idea make for better user experience, it also addresses the issue of keeping content fresh and relevant.

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