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Short background is that we're working with a self service portal. The home page will feature a call-to-action of a search form for their queries e.g. "What is the flexi time policy"

Below this there will be top 10 lists of newly added FAQs, most popular and relevant sections.

Once a search has been done, the results will be appear and going into one of the results will present the user with a knowledge-base article and/or a FAQ.

In addition we will have forms the user fills out e.g. a flexi leave form. We will have FAQs listed along with examples

We will be introducing a web chat feature. My question is considering that the whole site is based around self service, FAQs and knowledgebases, should the "Web Chat" option be available on each and every page or should it be present once a search has been made or more wider than that, when they're not on the home page, based on the fact we want them to find the information themselves first?

I have reviewed other similar questions but none seem to be around a website dedicated to help/support that encourages users to self-serve.

Example of websites that will be close to what we will have:

enter image description here enter image description here

Thanks

  • Could you edit your post with an image of what you guys have now? It would make it a lot easier by having a visual representation. :) – geostocker Oct 10 '16 at 10:05
  • Sorry - I did mean to add that is in process of being designed. I'll try and find an example of a design close to what we want and add it – pee2pee Oct 10 '16 at 10:14
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Without knowing how a FAQ page is designed I'd still suggest adding a live chat button inside the page.

The reason behind having the button inside the FAQ are:

  1. To lessen the strain on the service from users who are too lazy to first search.
  2. To keep as clean of a design as possible in the search (keep the search page intuitive). This also lessens the sense of intrusion that a button / form could incise in a user.

You can add the live-chat button to the contact form too, so that users can get chatting when navigation from your contact page.

Overall I simply believe it's a better design choice both from a managerial point of view and design point of view to focus on the functionality of your search-form in the 'main page' and allow a user to find a live chat window when having navigated to a FAQ.

Simply display something like "Did you not find what you were looking for? Ask an adviser in our live chat" as the text on a button / in a form might be as intuitive and would definitely be less intrusive.

Sky does something similar where they show a little prompt in your top-right window (floats with you as you scroll) when you are looking at their FAQ and adviser is available.

Here is a horrible mock-up of their display I made in paint:

enter image description here

  • Thanks - I am thinking along these lines but there seems to be a strong call to have it present in the footer as an option. Might have to go through some A/B testing to see which yields the best results. – pee2pee Oct 10 '16 at 10:31
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    I understand that idea too, but I think it's important to really consider the implications that might have on the quality of the service (assuming you have a lot of users). I'm sure as hell going to be clicking on that chat rather than search around a forum if I get the chance. Mainly because it makes my experience a lot easier. – geostocker Oct 10 '16 at 10:34
  • What you could do, as a sort of middle ground is to do a bit of case-study by checking how many of the users will default to using the service and how many of them will still be searching. So basically make a test-run by adding it in the default footer, then change it a few days later to be in the FAQ-page. That way you might see what the user is most incited to do and as such implement it in a fashion that most would benefit your system. – geostocker Oct 10 '16 at 10:36
  • I agree with the "put the button on the contact page" thing. If you make vieweable everywhere then people will imediately use that instead of actually looking for the answer themselves, which may not be what you want and will cause more clutter in the live chat. If it's in the contact (or the help page) it will serve more as a last ressort, leaving the user to search the FAQ's or foruns as a quicker way to get his answer. – Thaenor Oct 10 '16 at 10:47
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should the "Web Chat" option be available on each and every page (...) based on the fact we want them to find the information themselves first?

  • Let the "Web Chat" option show on every page.
  • When clicked, check if the user has actually made any search at all.
    • If they have, proceed to Web Chat.
    • If they haven't:
      • Show a very simple "What's your question?" / "What do you want to talk about?" dialog.
      • Make a search for them, using their input.
        • If 0 results, proceed to Web Chat.
        • If x > 0 results, show e.g. the top 5 results with something along the lines of "We've found this pages related to your question. Not what you're looking for? Click here for a live chat session."

EDIT: just noticed you already had an accepted answer! I hope I helped anyway :)

  • I'll see if we can get that logic into the system but I feel people will just go through to chat if they selected it – pee2pee Oct 10 '16 at 14:05
  • Yes, some people will refuse to interact with your page and they will abuse your chat line. But you can't avoid that -- that's just how some people is. With my proposed solution you at least get a chance to educate the rest of them in searching first (as long as your search engine results are any good), while taking some load off your Web Chat team every time one of the non-abusive users finds a fitting response in that last-resort results page. – walen Oct 10 '16 at 14:28
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(I can't comment to ask some side questions so I will stick to making some assumptions and establishing a base answer).

Your question reminded me of the typical question in the bottom right hand corner of the page. Would it be a good fit for you? I'd say yes if it also included FAQ's and other of the help guides you've mentioned as well it's probably something the user will like having close by when needed.

In my UX workshop (a while back) we did an exercise very much in line with your question. The challenge was to visit an airline company website, view the flights available and then try to ask a question or view some help guides. "seasoned" users would likely just google "airline name"+"support" or "help" or "costumer service" and get the phone number or something. But for the rest the instinct seems to be to check the bottom of the page and look for information there.

So what do you think fits with the design of your app? An omnipresent button generally works better on bigger screens. Take this very page for instance, this text is centered and, if your screen is big enough (or you're not on mobile) you should see huge whitespace to the left and right... although they should generally be kept that way to create a sense of space I would find you could easily get away with a little "help" question ma

  • Would you suggest it to be floating on the bottom or in the footer? My worry is that if it's stuck in the footer, unless the users scrolls down, it won't be present whereas if it's in the header, it'll be fairly obvious. With that said, I'm not sure whether it should be on every page and therefore entice users to use it rather than self-serving – pee2pee Oct 10 '16 at 10:19
  • that really depends on your design of the page. As for it being only on the first page or some page or all it depends on your site map... does it have a big site map or simple pages that work SPA'ish like? If your header isn't too crowded it might work. I would say it's safe to assume that if a user needs help he/she will look at the bottom in the footer. – Thaenor Oct 10 '16 at 10:29

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