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I strongly disagree with some of these from the user feedback I've always heard. Yes, I'm sure target audience matters on some of the points but come on, "Most users don’t know what FAQ stands for". That's just ridiculous and you provide no evidence to support this claim. I feel like these "sins" are major shots in the dark with no real studies to back up such big claims.



His point about FAQs being out-of-context is completely valid. Every page on CenturyLink's site links to a help page that (IIRC) has a random mishmash of questions about billing, setup, technical support and whatnot. It would be much better to answer billing questions on the billing page and technical questions on the support page, and so forth.


A problem is that a number of users also instinctively look for FAQs to answer any questions. However, in theory your solution is far more elegant and correct.

Fortunately, any well-designed (from a back-end perspective) site should have no problem presenting the relevant information both on the relevant page and on a catch-all FAQ document. This would allow the site to elegantly handle everything properly.


I can agree in that context but the author specifically says "Most users don’t know what FAQ stands for", which I disagree with. But to what you mean, yes, the way FAQ's should be presented may vary, depending on the site.


It definitely depends on your audience but the general non-tech audience probably doesn't know what "FAQ" stands for on average. In fact, most of the things you tech for granted among a tech-savvy audience disappear if you are targeting an audience that includes a non-trivial non-tech segment.

Source: Working at a startup with a wide audience. The email consisting only of the subject line "WHAT IS PASSWORD" was not the least-savvy email received.


This sort of thing is very dependent on a person's age too.

I know a lot of my peers would know what FAQ means and what a password is. Even some of the "less" tech savvy people. But late adopters who are still using 10 year old PCs usually don't know.

Before I hear claims of ageism, it is just a fact that a higher percentage of the older generations don't know how to use computers. It isn't ALL of them but they didn't have the benefit of growing up with computers as a tool, to the point where they become second nature.


He may not have studies, but he has spent days conducting usability tests. How many days of usability tests and how many studies do you have to back your claims?


Well, I guess if you are going to question my credibility I will back it up for you. I'm the senior UI/UX designer at Angie's List (a major US company), so we actually do countless usability tests through the abundant site visits we get. So, that can easily back up my claims.

I understand you may be defending the author but maybe think twice before you try to discredit someone so quickly, without any knowledge of their background?


I understand you may be defending the author but maybe think twice before you try to discredit someone so quickly, without any knowledge of their background?

There is nothing wrong with questioning credentials when things get down to a he-said-she-said. Your comment provided no reason to think you had anything more to back up your claims than the usability studies of the OP. If knowledge of your background is going to be important, that might be something you should mention.


Depending on the target audience of the web-site, I can see that there might be large percentages of web-site users who don't know what a FAQ stands for. Anecdotre of one -- I recently emailed a mortgage lender with the word "docs" (instead of "documents") in it and she actually sent me an email asking me what was "docs"? Sometimes things that seem very apparent to us due to the group we move around in may not be apparent to others outside the group.


Back when everyone was using NCSA Mosaic to look at your website, it was reasonable to expect most users to understand the word "FAQ". However, it's 2012.


> I feel like these "sins" are major shots in the dark with no real studies to back up such big claims.

As mentioned in the post, the claims are indeed based on real studies: observing users as they perform prescribed tasks in a usability testing lab.




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