9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 25, 2007 12:23 PM by Red Ink Writes

    User-friendly FAQs

    Red Ink Writes
      I am redesigning some Frequently Asked Questions pages for a help system created by another author.

      Currently the FAQ pages are lengthy and the user must scroll through each question pertaining to that topic to find the one they want.

      The Robo built-in Search function is useless for these pages because no bookmarks were used and when a user enters a search term, it returns the entire page - so again the user has to scroll each question before finding they one that they want.

      The Find function works on these pages, and the previous author gave them a link to a pop-up that shows them how to use Find, but it's very confusing to users when they are to use Search to locate some things in the help system and have to use the Find to locate anything on an FAQ page.

      I'm looking for input on the best way to re-construct the FAQs. My ideal would be a search box on the page where the user enters a term/terms and is returned all related items contained within the help system - like pretty much any search/results you see on-line. Can you do this in RoboHTML X6? If so, how?

      Thanks for your help.
        • 1. User-friendly FAQs
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
          Hi Red Ink Writes

          I've seen many FAQs constructed similar to below:

          FA Question 1
          FA Question 2
          FA Question 3

          FA Answer 1 - Blah blah blah blah blah
          Back to top

          FA Answer 2 - Blah blah blah blah blah
          Back to top

          FA Answer 3 - Blah blah blah blah blah
          Back to top

          In this case, each question links to a bookmark further down the page. The Back to top would link to the top of the page.

          Another approach would be to have them as follows:

          FA Question 1
          FA Answer 1 - Blah blah blah blah blah

          FA Question 2
          FA Answer 2 - Blah blah blah blah blah

          FA Question 3
          FA Answer 3 - Blah blah blah blah blah

          In the case listed just above, each question is actually a DHTML Drop-down hotspot.

          Hopefully something here was helpful... Rick
          • 2. Re: User-friendly FAQs
            Red Ink Writes Level 1
            Thanks, Rick.

            The second example is how it's done in the help system now, and that just doesn't work for my users - they have to scroll and read to find the FAQ they need. Remember, there could be 30 or so questions per FAQ page.

            Yes, I could use your example one, which would cut down on the content on the page, and that may end up being what I do, but the users still have to scroll through all of the questions to find what they want, and I'd really rather avoid that.

            I am looking for something cleaner and easier to use for folks who are not in the least bit technically-savvy. For example, I envison a user being presented with a simple page that contains a Search box. They enter a word, such as "Print", into the search box, and click a Go button. Beneath the search box all of the results that contain the word "Print" would be returned, with just the question content showing. The user would click on the appropriate linked question and be taken to a page that contains that question and its answer.
            • 3. Re: User-friendly FAQs
              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
              Hi again

              So basically you are saying that you feel scanning a list of 30 links is just too cluttered. Because in the second example, that's all they would initially see on the page. Until they clicked.

              You could probably accomplish what you want to achieve by using JavaScript in the page. I believe I've seen something like this. Take a look at the link below:
              Click here

              Other than that, one thing you might also consider is to logically group the links into a smaller set of categories. Then create DHTML drop downs that would work in a similar manner.

              Print Issues
              Data Entry Issues
              Processing issues

              Then when the user clicks the desired section, a list of links is revealed for that section.

              Just a thought... Rick
              • 4. Re: User-friendly FAQs
                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                Sounds like you are saying you want Print to be searched on, using your example, but then only the relevant questions within a topic are listed. I don't think I have seen any search work that way.

                What about if the search word was highlighted on the page, then the user could see all questions that have relevant answers?

                You can add that by using either the Search Highlighting method on my site or using ZoomSearch also described there. The easier solution is to wait until RH7 is released as that includes search highlighting.

                • 5. Re: User-friendly FAQs
                  Red Ink Writes Level 1
                  It's so weird that you replied just then, Peter, because I was on your site at that moment, reading about ZoomSearch! Spooky.

                  Anyway, thanks to both you and to Rick for your responses. I think I found something here: http://www.felgall.com/jstip22a.htm
                  that may work. I have a web developer at my disposal who can make more sense out of this code than I, and also tell me if I'm misinterpreting how this functions, but I think this is like a decision tree - the application chooses different prompts to narrow a search, based upon the user's entry.

                  I'm not going to close down this topic, though, 'cause I am definitely still interested in any and all ideas.

                  Thanks again, guys!

                  • 6. Re: User-friendly FAQs
                    RoboWizard Level 4
                    Hello again Melissa

                    Another thought occurs here. Are you also a Captivate user? If so, you could perhaps accomplish something using Captivate that would be fancier and maybe easier for you than getting a developer involved.

                    Just thinking out loud... Rick
                    • 7. Re: User-friendly FAQs
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                      We know what you are thinking!

                      • 8. Re: User-friendly FAQs
                        maniac9999 Level 1
                        Red Ink,

                        I would give the ZoomSearch option a try. It allows you to create and customize an actual "Search" page, using JavaScript, PHP, CGI, etc. I tried it for a help system I'm developing and it works VERY well, and everyone I've shown it to thinks it's a tremendous improvement over the default RoboHelp search. I'm still amazed that eHelp actually released a search function that returns results in alphabetical order, without any relevance - wow! How useless!

                        Anyway, go to Peter's site and check out the instructions. I thought it was pretty easy to set up and maintain. Now we just need to convince the powers that be here at my company to buy a few copies...

                        • 9. Re: User-friendly FAQs
                          Red Ink Writes Level 1
                          Thanks, Jim. I'm playing with ZoomSearch right now. Instead of adding it as a button on the Nav bar, I create a link to the Search file from the TOC. The user clicks it and gets the search screen. I also placed all of my FAQ topics in a separate folder and set the ZoomSearch to index only those files. So far so good!

                          Thanks to all of you guys for your time and expertise! I'm much closer to do what I wanted than when I posted my original message this morning!