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June 09, 2010



I'm not keen on FAQs, or Q&A pages on our intranet. I feel that authors 'resort' to FAQs because they consider a list easier to write than succinct, meaningful, prose. As I said here:


To me, FAQs are just another tool in our toolbox - and like all tools, they can be used well or badly.

Typical error: confusing Frequently Asked Questions with Easily Answered Questions.

Another typical error (and it sounds like the one made by Baby's First Circus): throwing all your random content into them.

A few more thoughts on the topic are in my piece "How to write good FAQs" http://www.usabilitynews.com/news/article3724.asp

Caroline Jarrett

Leslie O'Flahavan

Thanks, Wedge and Caroline, for links to two great pieces. Caroline, I like your point about the difference between Frequently Asked Questions and Easily Answered Questions. In my web writing courses, I always comment on how the name "Frequently Asked Questions" is content-owner-centric not user-centric. After all, does the user know whether her question is frequently or rarely asked? And does she want the answer any less if hers is a Rarely Asked Question?
Wedge, I really like your point: "...FAQs can make excellent reference materials for a specific audience when combined with overviews, narratives and good communications." Well said.

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