ρ (rho) wrote in lj_userdoc,
ρ
rho
lj_userdoc

I've got a theory

One of the things that has long bothered me about the FAQs on LiveJournal is that they try to be two things at once. On the one hand, they're a list of questions that get asked frequently, together with their answers. On the other hand, they're also something of a user manual. A sort of "everything you ever wanted to know about LiveJournal but were afraid to ask". (there are also anomalies such as the "What is meetup?" FAQ which exists solely to be linked, but that is very much the exception)

On the second of these points, I think that we're doing fantastically well. The FAQs contain a wealth of information about more or less anything anyone could possibly want to know about LiveJournal. On the first one though, I'm less convinced. One of the problems with having so much information available is that it makes it damn hard to find sometimes. If memory serves me correctly, we currently have something like 170 visible FAQs, which is a lot by anyone's standard. Add to that the fact the most of the FAQs contain enough information that you have to read through them fairly carefully to find the bit that you're looking for and you have a minor usability nightmare.

Now, I wouldn't want to get rid of the user manual side of the FAQ. That documentation is Important, for the sanity of support volunteers if nothing else, and there's not really anywhere else to put it. The guide system has long been almost but not quite entirely dead, and deservedly so as it was cumbersome and over-complex. What I would like to propose however, is this:

Find the 20 or so most frequently asked, most likely to be looked up FAQs, and then from that information create a new FAQ which is short, concise and to the point. So for instance:

How do I get create an account?

You can create an account at http://www.livejournal.com/create.bml

This page contains simple instructions on how to create your account. You will then be sent an email welcoming you to LiveJournal. To complete the sign-up process, follow the confirmation link in this email.

More information is available at http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=104


or

How do I use an lj-cut? What are the other LiveJournal-specific tags?

You can use an lj-cut tag to hide part of your entry. To do so, use the text <lj-cut>. Anything you write after this will be hidden from view and only appear on comments pages.

You can also use the <lj user> tag. If you write <lj user="exampleusername"> in your entry, it will appear as a link to that user's journal.

More information is available at http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=75


And so on and so forth. Short, simple, to the point and effective. Most users don't want to read all the associate gubbins all of the time; they just want a quick and easy answer to their question.

These mini-FAQs could then be put in a FAQ-category of their own, right at the very top of the FAQ page, where people could more easily find them. Someone could then edit the text at the top of the FAQ to say that the FAQs at the top were basic simple answers, and then everything else was more detailed information.

So. Thoughts? Comments? Flames? Pocky? Mongoose?
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