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Why adopt an FAQ?

An FAQ is a collection of answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from users. An FAQ helps to reduce the number of requests for Help desk, and it improves response rates. An FAQ can be considered a permanent help for users who can use the FAQ to learn at their own pace, in their own time, without requiring external help. An FAQ should be able to help a user resolve a problem and provide salient help. For 66% of FAQ users, it is easier to run searches with a knowledge base.

Here are Shortways’ tips and tricks on how to create an FAQ in your application.


How to select the questions that will constitute the FAQ?

The first step in building an FAQ is to select the right questions. It is important to focus on question that users are likely to ask… and not to spend time on questions that probably will not be consulted. To this end, we recommend:

  • Analyzing user support tickets to identify recurring themes and questions
  • Anticipating issues of potential confusion in regards to new content.

For sure, it’s not easy to put yourself in the shoes of another person, but here are a few tips:

  1. Use Personas: A persona is a fictional person with social and psychological attributes and characteristics who represents a target group.
  2. Interview users for their opinion as to their needs and expectations
  3. Trace the user’s path through the tool in order to better understand when a blockage may occur and be able to respond to it


How to write proper FAQ answers?

The second step when preparing an FAQ is to write up the answers. To begin, the 4 criteria that make for a good answer: The answer must be:

  1. Clear
  2. Structured
  3. Short
  4. Have an open language

In addition, words with negative connotations such as “problem”, “incident”, “dissatisfaction” should be avoided. Negative words and imperatives should also be avoided.  The user should not make the mental association “FAQ = Only when Problem”.

Here are some examples of a poorly worded answer and the ameliorated version:

  • “If you don’t know until when to submit your form, no problem, the deadline for performance interviews is September 15, 2020.
  • “Can’t find the supplier creation form? No problem, you can contact the purchasing department and they’ll tell you how to proceed.
    “Your supplier isn’t in the list? Click here to open the supplier creation form”.


How to ensure the effectiveness of an FAQ?

The purpose of the FAQ is to answer the questions most frequently asked by users. That said, it is possible that a user doesn’t find the answer to his question after consulting the FAQ. This could leave the user feeling frustrated. A number of ways to stop this from happening:

  • Insert a Call To Action (CTA) (e.g., a “Suggest” button)
  • Have another channel where users might find answers to their questions

The CTA can also be used to encourage the user to visit another page to learn more about a topic, for example.

Finally, we add a satisfaction questionnaire, for example “Was this answer useful to you?”… in this way, you can measure the effectiveness of your FAQ with users.


How to facilitate the navigation in its FAQ?

There are several elements that come into play to facilitate a user’s navigation within the FAQ. The first one to consider is the format of the FAQ. The two most commonly used formats are:

  • The “static” format: this format consists in displaying a list of questions and their answers on a single page.


  • The “dynamic” format: this format works like search engines. Users types their question/keyword, and the tool suggests appropriate answers

The FAQ should be clear and easy to use to prevent the user from giving up and contacting user support, which would adversely affect the performance of the FAQ. To facilitate navigation, you can:

  • Use breadcrumbs, which are a navigation aid in the form of signaling the location of the user in the FAQ
  • Put the most frequently asked questions at the beginning of the FAQ
  • Classify the questions by theme
  • Use fold-out windows to delineate individual categories


🤩 The Shortways’ little extra: FAQs displayed in the Shortways Assistant can be sorted by category to make it easier for users to navigate.

How and why should you animate your FAQ?

Regularly updating your FAQ will ensure that users consult it and that it meets their expectations. To do so, you must:

  • Regularly update the FAQ in order to tailor it to users’ questions and make sure that the contents of the FAQ (i.e., its answers) are always up-to-date with respect to the software (important during the application updates and new features).
  • Letting people about your FAQ also helps to inform them of the existence of the FAQ and thus increase the number of people consulting it. This leads to a reduction in the number of requests for Help Desk and therefore reduces costs.


How to add a FAQ to your application?

Tools such as Freshdesk, Zendesk or HelpSite or even a PDF file can help you build your knowledge base. However, with these solutions, the user is redirected to another page. Ideally, they should be able to consult the FAQ directly in their application. This is one of the features of Shortways.


The essentials to remember for a good FAQ

An FAQ, if well done. can be a very useful feature. The different points to remember when creating a FAQ are:

1) Questions:

  • Provide users with answers to questions they really ask themselves and quite often in a general way
  • Use multiple ways to collect user questions
  • Put yourself in the user’s shoes to anticipate potential points of confusion

2) Answers:

  • They need to be clear, short, organized and use open language
  • Avoid words with negative connotations
  • Avoid a bossy tone

3) Good practices:

  • Update your FAQ regularly
  • Use satisfaction surveys
  • Optimize navigation
  • Make sure that others are aware of the FAQ
  • Integrate Shortways Assistant to the application

Shortways Assistant is the digital assistant that provides your users with a contextual FAQ directly in your application. This feature displays directly on the user’s screen and is tailored to the user’s profile. The user directly consults an FAQ suggesting answers according to what is on the screen.  A very practical time-saver!

👉 To read our other tips & tricks, click on the link!