Which is more usable FAQ or Help documentation for web services? I need to provide contextual help content for each page within the service. Also same content will be re-used in websites.

In my thoughts, Help documentation will have all the details for all modules with example image or steps to create / steps do some actions. Also we can explore all the hidden features / hidden actions.

Only thing is, Help documentation will looks like big one. Yes, we can provide search option. Though do you read help documents if you wish?

But in FAQ, we don't know about where is user will struck, also we need to provide questions in some assumptions. Is it correct?

Please give me your suggestions on this. For large product like SAP which is best FAQ or Help documentation?

  • Yes, if we have assumption questions for FAQ, we can solve this problem in product usability instead of FAQ question
    – jelumalai
    Oct 17, 2013 at 4:56
  • If you need a FAQ or Help, start by re-evaluating the UI in general to see if you can make it more intuitive. Beyond that, it's impossible for us to answer this question without knowing the application you are building. As for FAQs, in general, I prefer the acronyms FUQs because a) it's funny to say and b) most FAQs tend to be questions no one actually asked (AKA Frequently Unasked Questions)
    – DA01
    Oct 17, 2013 at 5:05
  • Thanks for reply. I have mentioned in the post about application like "SAP".
    – jelumalai
    Oct 17, 2013 at 5:13
  • That doesn't really help us answer the question. It's just too broad. There is no 'best' in general--it's all going to depend on the particulars of your specific application, your users, the particular UI, etc.
    – DA01
    Oct 17, 2013 at 5:17

2 Answers 2


I think they serve a different purpose.

A FAQ should contain the help which solves the most probable problems. It minimizes the clicks of most users.

A documentation should contain the entire description of the service, so it can help solving the obscurer problems, which occure rather seldom or just with experienced users who need special help.

So I would say you need both of them.


"Online Help" and FAQ are too different for a definite yea/no answer to your question. What is important to understand is: These two resources are not mutually exclusive. You may need to have only one of those for a product, but typically you need both.

Also, based on my experience, FAQ may be a good addition to the Online Help - simply as a separate section of it. It may cover the most typical questions for beginners, giving short answers with a link to a help topic with a complete description of the concept.

You mentioned you are not sure what to document. Well, then FAQ may be a good starting point - while writing answers, you will realize what background information may be needed for readers. And yes - typically you don't know for sure all those questions before they are asked. That's why they are called Frequently Asked Questions :) The typical approach is to start with some basic questions your early beta or internal users are asking. Then you keep adding question as you get those from users. Building an FAQ list is not a one-time project, it's an iterative process.

Also, when planning what to document, make sure you cover the most standard & straightforward use cases for your end-users. This will be a good start! Good Luck!

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