The Facts on FAQs
By Mike Goracke
Questions about how to do something limit the user to not getting the full potential of what they are doing. FAQs (frequently asked questions) help users to find the solution to their questions. FAQs not only show the user what are the most often asked questions, but also the answers to those questions.
The main purpose of FAQs is to simply provide help. These documents provide a place for users to go to find answers to their questions or related topics. FAQs are extremely helpful not only to the user, but also to the company providing the FAQ. If no FAQ existed, company’s support phone lines would be ringing off the hook and their inboxes would be getting flooded with emails. FAQs also help the company to make improvements and upgrades to future products to make them perform better or make them more user friendly. FAQs show the user common questions that are asked and there answers.
If a user does not find the answers helpful, then it is time to contact the company. Contacting the company means, many times, waiting on hold for a half an hour, then speaking to someone you cannot understand and then after an hour of being on the phone you hang up and realize you have not gotten any useful information.
Anyone can use an FAQ. FAQs are available all over the internet. Some are also in the backs of instruction manuals. Most of the time when you call the company they ask you what your problem is and then either refer you to an FAQ or read to you the answer from an FAQ. There are different ways that FAQs can be displayed. They can be displayed on web pages either as a page or sometimes as PDFs (portable document format). FAQs can also be on a sheet of paper by themselves or in a book. Some even are done in a RoboHELP format where it appears like an electronic book.
FAQs are written for everything. You can find FAQs on anything from software (http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/activation_faq.mspx), to electronics (http://www.bvws.org.uk/405alive/faq/workagain.html), to stripping (http://www.stripper-faq.org/intro.htm). You can search FAQ on http://www.google.com and get about 266,000,000 results, about 380,000,000 on http://www.yahoo.com, and about 126,000,000 on http://www.ask.com.com.
FAQs make doing things much easier because you can see how to understand more about what you are doing through using an FAQ. With the increasing accessibility of FAQs and the increasing information provided by FAQs, people gain greater knowledge and can better grasp what they are trying to accomplish. With this many FAQs out there, soon we may be able to find one that explains the question, “What is the meaning of life?”