Subject: FAQs?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Diane Boos <dianeboos -at- comcast -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 16:00:10 -0400

Diane Boos wondered: <<I have just spend many hours weeding through a telecommunication company's web site FAQs. I finally gave up and tried to contact them, which is a whole different story. But it caused me to started thinking about FAQs usefulness.>>

Mostly they're not very useful, but the problem is not with the medium, but rather with the implementation. For a few thoughts on this issue: http://www.geoff-hart.com/resources/2004/faqs.htm

<<Many times technical writers produce these FAQs.>>

And many times they don't. <g> Not all FAQs are created by experts.

<<How often are they really used? Do companies ever check their effectiveness? Anybody have any statistics about how successful FAQ searches are?>>

No statistics, alas. I can only say from personal experience that I to at least try to find what I'm looking for in the FAQs, and usually give up in disgust. They're no substitute for a good index or a context-sensitive search engine, but when you don't have the time to do either, my article (see above) suggests some ways to at least make them more effective than they might otherwise be.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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FAQs: From: Diane Boos

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