So, what does the other content do? Answer the infrequently asked questions?
If your content meets your user's needs, you won't need frequently asked questions (FAQ). If your content is important to your user, then it should feature in the main content and not in a separate section.
Issues with FAQ
Frequently asked questions:
- duplicate information
- are not front-loaded with keywords, making them hard to scan
- often aren't questions actually asked by the public
- don't meet diverse needs
- are harder for search engines to crawl.
The Australian Government Style doesn't recommend FAQs.
Most users aren't reading FAQ pages
Most users will never read your FAQ page. Here are some examples:
- vic.gov.au - Victorian travel voucher scheme: 18% of users who visited the main page also visited the FAQ page
- coronavirus.vic.gov.au - Victorian Travel Permit Scheme: 11% of users who visited the main page also visited the FAQ page
- coronavirus.vic.gov.au - Victorian Government QR code service: 1.2% of users visited the FAQ page
|Page title||Page views|
Victorian Travel Voucher Scheme
Victorian Travel Voucher Scheme FAQs
18% of users visited the FAQs page and then not for enough time to read all the content.
Victorian Travel Permit System
Victorian Travel Permit System FAQs
Register to use the Victorian Government QR code service
QR code registration FAQs
Users who read an FAQ page tell us they're not helpful
When users do read FAQ pages there's more negative feedback than positive feedback. Users tell us they don't find the information helpful. The opposite is true for pages which outline a process, such as a 'how to apply' page.
We define a successful page as having 70% or higher rating for yes, this content was helpful. Less than 50% of users not finding the content helpful is an indication that the content needs work.
Structuring your content for inclusion
The Centre for Inclusive conducted usability testing on vic.gov.au and reported their findings in June 2022.
The research concluded that the most important information should be found at the top of a page with less critical content lower down.
Users come to government websites for quick and accurate information. This is easier to access if it's not in a separate section or page.
"Yeah, I don't spend that much time on government websites, but when I do, I like kind of get the information then and there."
Cognitive-impaired participant, Victorian Government Website Usability Testing, Centre for Inclusive Design
When we follow user experience and content design principles, content:
- is well organised, with the main points first
- is presented well for scanning - using keyword-loaded and well-worded headings and lists
- provides a call to action (such as an 'apply now' button) or information on what to do next
- is monitored and maintained so it's kept up to date and improved upon.
Rework FAQ information into your main page content
Map out what people need to know and in what order. For example, 'eligibility to apply', 'information needed to apply' and 'how to apply'.
Then include the information in the relevant section.
Rather than having an FAQ such as 'Can I sign up if I'm under 18?' and 'Why do I have to be over 15 to access the payment?' you can include this information under eligibility:
"You must be aged over 15 because Victoria has restrictions and permit requirements for people under 15 years in relation to their ability to undertake paid work. People under 18 will need your parent or guardian to consent to entering the terms and conditions within the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee Program Guidelines on your behalf."
Add an FAQ page only if feedback suggests you need it
Have a chat with your digital team to see if the answer to a question can be incorporated into your existing content.
If your service or transaction is on Service Victoria, make sure your FAQ content is added to your Service Victoria FAQ tab; don't duplicate it on your website. Link across where relevant.
If this isn't relevant, a FAQ page may be added if you can show evidence that:
- the question has been frequently asked through a contact point, such as a contact centre or email address
- the types of questions are specific to certain groups and can't be incorporated easily into your existing content
- the list is prioritised from the most asked question to the least or grouped according to user need.
Reviewed 15 December 2022