For FAQs sake.

I haven’t written in a while, mainly because of a new house, painting and a patio!

Frequently Asked Questions, they seem to be the bain of my life. There seems to be a continued obsession with creating site content purely based around (usually un)frequently asked questions. Interestingly user interviews do quite often throw up FAQs as a requirement of a site:

“A list of FAQs with the answer to my question should be on a site about…”

Realistically though, who would enjoy or even tolerate having to trawl through a list of 35 unstructured FAQs? Certainly not me and certainly not any users I have observed within usability tests. The key with the user interview as that the user wants to find the answer to their question, not necessarily how this answer should be presented.

So, exactly what purpose do they serve and is there a place for them? If they were truly frequently asked then surely the sites (non-FAQ) content should be answering these questions as standard. Sites should be ensuring that their site structure makes finding the answers to questions which are asked frequently by real users usable and intuitive, it is no-longer enough to simply compile a long list of FAQs and use your web site as a dumping ground for them.