As we’re sure you keep hearing, a critical part of web design is the entire user experience: how people utilise your website, how they feel when they’re doing so – hell, even how easy it is for them to leave! One critical element of user experience that has too often been overlooked, however, is that of content.
Content is an intrinsic part of how users interact with a site. It’s why a quick Google search will turn up pages and pages of infographics from SEO nerds like us at DMJ about how long people stay on a page, how many words is too many, and where on a webpage content should be placed.
It’s an absolutely vital piece of your website design and maintenance to get right. And so it’s surprising to think that there’s a massive elephant in the content room that doesn’t seem to be focussed on too much: FAQs.
‘But, but, what’s wrong with answering my clients’ questions?’, I hear you ask. Absolutely nothing. The thing is, a well-designed website with appropriately structured content shouldn’t really need a list of questions and answers to do that, and if there are specialised queries that come up – well then, you get to start a conversation with a potential client!
Information Architecture might become the new buzzword
A lot more time needs to go in to how we place and write content – that is, the thinking behind Information Architecture (IA). This focuses on the organisation, structure and even headings of content in a way that makes it easy for your website visitors – yes, your company’s leads – to digest information and get the answers they’re after (and some they didn’t even know they wanted!).
Surprisingly enough, this is becoming so important that it can often dictate a website’s design (or should, at least) as opposed to text being pushed and manhandled into a given space. Peter Morville is an exponent of the theory of IA in effective digital marketing and website builds, and he has this to say on the whole topic:
“The purpose of your IA is to help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect. As a result, your IA informs the content strategy through identifying word choice as well as informing user interface design and interaction design through playing a role in the wireframing and prototyping processes.”
So, it’s worth thinking about how your website can be designed to get across the information you want, and your leads need, without a subsequently redundant and dates FAQ.
That doesn’t mean you’ll never have a need for a FAQ page!
All we’re saying is, don’t just fall back on one. But, if need arises, there are a few ways to make it suitably effective to enhance elements like UX and SEO: Have a clear reason for it existing, make it easy to find, have clear titles and concise answers, and make sure the focus is on user requirements rather than branding.
Most importantly, don’t use a FAQ list to tell your brand story – that’s what your website’s for!
Have more questions about Information Architecture and how it could impact your business or website? Let us know!