Re: FAQs - what do you think of them?

Subject: Re: FAQs - what do you think of them?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1996 17:18:33 +0800

Nicole Saleeba said:
> What do people think of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) lists as a means of
> providing instruction and advice? They are a growing phenomena on the Web
> but I'm not convinced they are an effective means of communication, or at
> least, not the most effective.

Documentation should answer customers questions. One extremely common
problem for TWs is finding out what our customers want to know. What
tasks do they need to do? What terms do they use? What questions weren't
answered in the supplied docs? There are several ways to find these
things out, but you can never know too much about your customers.

I think an FAQ can be a big help. It does depend though on how you
decide what qualifies as an FAQ. It should list questions that are. . .
well, frequently asked. If your Customer Support or Help Desk people
already compile this info, it's an invaluable pipeline of information
from your customers to you. Frequently Asked Questions about Product X
release 1.0 should be fed into the manuals for the next release.

Another common problem is the lag in getting revised information out to
customers. Depending on your product cycle, you may write the sentence
in November but you customers won't get to see it until June or later.
By making the FAQ available by Web or fax, you can bring the information
up-to-date almost instantly, so avoiding the delays inherent in CD-ROM
and paper publishing.

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Pty Ltd Fax: +61 9 328 8616

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