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I am designing a simple FAQ/information page. We already have one, which you can view here: http://merchantfuse.com/site/general

As you can see we use collapsible content boxes.

However I am considering switching to just static text, no boxes, no clicking required to get an answer to a question. The menu on the left would stay because we have two very different types of users (buyers and sellers).

What method is better for both grabbing someone's attention and conveying information?

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The url to the collapsible content is no longer available on our site, this is an example of one that I found that will likely stick around for longer snyderplace.com/demos/collapsible.html –  Daniel Aug 23 '13 at 13:58
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3 Answers

Usually justifications for having hidden content come from a misplaced desire to reduce scrolling or to (rightly) let the user see all of the questions without getting distracted by the answer text.

There is a better way to do this: a list of questions at the top with anchor links within the page to the question and answer.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

This has several benefits:

  • The user can choose to read the summary of questions, or just start scrolling through and scanning the questions and answers.
  • The user can bookmark a specific question/answer for later
  • Users coming into the page from search engines will not have to guess which question contains their target query.

Scrolling is not a bad thing--users don't mind it. They will be perfectly happy to do it, so long as they believe there is something worth finding.

That's where having the question list at the top above the fold complements the longer list.

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Appreciate this, interesting and helpful...thanks! –  Daniel Dec 20 '12 at 23:13
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+1 very good solution, it actually stimulated me to update a FAQ section on one of my sites as well. I used a static only page which forced users to scroll far down to find an answer. Initially there were just 5 questions but by now the client has entered many. Clearly your solution is the better way. –  Bazzz Dec 21 '12 at 14:58
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Given the example page, 4 questions with 4 paragraphs of text, I'd say you are correct in thinking that a static page of text is likely the best option. Charle's suggest isn't bad, though with just 4 questions, I'd say the linked questions at the top is still overkill and unecessary.

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As it is, your FAQ page fits easily on the smallest of screens, and your questions are already very well separated from the answers visually. Certainly, don't make me have to click to see the answer, just display them. If you ever have say, ten or more questions on each page, then maybe list them all at the top and anchor them like Charles suggested.

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