Complicated subject? FAQ it.

I always think that a lot of knowledge management is all about asking questions and finding answers. Simple as that.

For example many of the questions that the Press office deal with are in effect FAQs that they answer in a short time, often the same question, or a variant as each report is published. However these can be somewhat emphemeral questions or points of clarification.

But what if you have a big subject, that is a bit complex that you know people will keep coming back to – especially a wide external audience?

This is where a well crafted set of FAQs can be your ‘killer app’.

This is what has been done twice to great effect by the teams dealing with the ‘Taxpayer support for banks’ and the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA).

If you have not seen these FAQs on the NAO website its worth taking a look.

As a minimum you should admire the great FAQ format created by Rob Skilling.

Taxpayer support for banks


So how do you know that these FAQs work?

Well shortly after the FAQs for the banks were created there was an article in the Guardian that referenced them; and of course we can see the stats on people viewing them.

So if you have not thought about creating FAQs why not give it some thought?

You could be saving yourself, or another contact point in your the NAO, some repetitive work.


Its is also worth see this great post on FAQs by Stefan AKA the Public Strategist.



Filed under FAQs

2 responses to “Complicated subject? FAQ it.

  1. Hi Nick,
    Great post. I took a look at at the NAO site. As most FAQ pages go, I think this is a really nice example – well laid out, clear and good detail in the replies. However, their page could be enhanced by one simple change: let the community evolve the questions (ask new questions, reply to existing questions and vote up the ones that they found helpful). FAQ pages as they have traditionally been constructed are almost oxymoronic. They change infrequently and there is rarely an option to ask a question.

    • Nick M Halliday

      Thanks John, yes a good point. We will add an extra question as you suggest. Nice feedback, much appreciated. Nick

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