Subject: RE: FAQs
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Diane Boos" <dianeboos -at- comcast -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 13:26:47 -0700


I wonder if tech writers are, in general, involved with FAQs.

I think that FAQs come from two places: support, and "development"
(engineering/product development/...)

FAQs from support seem to be real questions and answers, but they're
often very simple. I think that they're the questions that support got
tired of answering 100 times a day.

FAQs from development are a glancing attempt to document the product or
service. Sometimes they seem to be answers to questions you never had.

Some companies try to survey the effectiveness of FAQs. I think one of
the best ways is to measure tech support call volumes.

Better than a FAQ would be a knowledge base to which people can easily
add questions and answers.

It still has to have an overall editor.

Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Diane Boos
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 12:34 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: FAQs

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.

Many times technical writers produce these FAQs. How often are they
really used? Do companies ever check their effectiveness? Anybody have
any statistics about how successful FAQ searches are?

When I'm asked to develop FAQs, I try to organize them them into general
topic areas, even providing links to the topics to make access easier.
What has been your experience with FAQs and user feedback?

Maybe some of your experiences will relieve my frustration.


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