We need people to check the FAQ before contacting support. The current solution we are using is to name the entire section of the web page FAQ, even though it also contains a form to contact support at the bottom of the section. This is because a vast majority of the questions asked to the support team are answers that can be found in the FAQ area, but it seems wrong to "trick" the users to read the FAQ this way.

I noticed that this site is using a pretty nice thing, links to similar questions pops up when I write some key words as I am writing this very question, to prevent duplicate question. We would, however, like to solve the problem with less technical development (as this suggestion system probably needs) due to lack of time at the moment.

Do you have any good solutions to this?

  • 1
    Use the suggestion system, many other sites do this today including eBay, however, make sure you do not block the contact support system and replace it with the suggestions only. I am not sure asking how to cut corners it appropriate. Also, the technical solution behind the suggestion system isn't that complicated if you use an off-the-self full text search system on your FAQs. Commented May 14, 2014 at 10:10
  • I've seen "Support" leading to what is effectively an FAQ, although it was structured as a set of questions to narrow down the list of answers displayed. After the 5 answers, there was a "Contact" possibility. I can't say I like it because it takes more time for me since the answers always look like "Check you plugged it in" - but that may be my fault. Commented May 14, 2014 at 15:10
  • Depending on how complex your FAQ is, you could consider something similar to Kongregate's feedback form (kongregate.com/feedbacks/new), using it primarily as a contact form but also displaying FAQ information that depends on the information they input, such as the support category. Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 13:58
  • A similar question: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/64460/…
    – drabsv
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 11:15

6 Answers 6


A strategy that was used in a previous project was to show that it is quicker to resolve issues using the FAQ by telling users what information is available and that self-service and sharing information also helps other people, whereas going to support doesn't contribute to the knowledge of the community (unless the support team actively maintains forums and the knowledgebase).

Another strategy is to structure the workflow of the page to make sure that the user at least looks through the main content of the FAQ before triggering the action to contact the support team.

The best solution is to action items in the FAQ section so that these are addressed and don't become frequently asked questions.

  • 1
    +1 For the last paragraph! If it's a common question...fix the experience that triggers the question! :)
    – DA01
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 3:01

I would recommend presenting the section as Support, because at the end of the day despite having the FAQS being the primary thing you want users to look at first, they will ultimately be going here for contact information. If anything else I'd do a card-sorting or grouping exercise to validate your convention.

Why not present your top FAQs and some use-case guides for your users and some sort of "other" option that would allow them to either type their issue and then run a search on all available knowledge-base/support criteria so you can suggest an answer. We currently try to do the following: within a search result listing/article I would THEN ask something along the lines, "Not finding what you're looking for?" that would then link them to contacting the support team. You can surmise that depending on certain pages or section of the site, maybe after so many searches you can bring up a contact notification, knowing that after a certain amount of time someone may be still looking because they are stuck on an issue.

This way you are trying to enhance their ability to help themselves while downplaying contacting support.


I can see that you are trying to help your clients fix the problems on their own and I can also understand why, it's faster for them and it requires less support resources on your side.

The problem you are having can be fixed with proper wording and well organized information. I understand that the information people would need to fix their problems is available, you just need to present it in an efficient way.

First of all try to change the name of that section to something more generic like "Support" rather then "FAQ". Microsoft does a really nice job on the XBOX website. The customer support form isn't even displayed here and in this way they encourage the customers to find a solution to their problem on their own and contact someone from Microsoft only if everything else fails.

In order to figure out how to organize the information, create some real life scenarios about customers having problems and needing to find the solution on your website. You can even try to create a small focus group of real customers.

As you probably already know the kind of problems your customers might need solutions to, it might make sense to group the answers into categories. Under each category you can add the FAQ content and try to use as little technical terms as possible. (EG. I get an error message when I try to log into the admin area.)

Also, try to provide a search feature for the Support section, it's really helpful especially when you have error codes.

  • "The customer support form isn't even displayed here and in this way they encourage the customers to find a solution to their problem" = correction, in FRUSTRATES the customers as they try and hunt for the contact information. Also, error codes, while technically useful on the back end, mean nothing to the user and would be counter to 'plain language' best practices
    – DA01
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 15:44
  • Agree to disagree. Microsoft did a great job, you should have checked the link before leaving this comment. The form is not displayed but there are links to contact forms, forum or live chat support. Also the information is very well organized. As an user I never had to contact support. As for error codes, there are situations where they are useful especially when you are building apps for tech-savvy people like, let's say system admins. Commented May 15, 2014 at 7:42

Try consider a new information architecture and get rid off the FAQ altogether. If a question is asked regularly, the answer to that question should to be included in the default content of the webpage.

An FAQ is a bad idea for several reasons. For one, most users don't look for an answer in this section, because why should they? How do they know their question is asked regularly? On top of that, users have a harder time reading FAQ section. Because questions take longer to scan you can’t take any meaning from them in a glance.

The UK gevornment has a really nice article about why they don;t use FAQ's: https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/07/25/faqs-why-we-dont-have-them/


When the user goes to contact support, a pop up window saying "Have you checked the FAQ?" could send more traffic away from the support. Here a list of some of the most popular questions you are asked could be displayed.

Users will naturally go straight to contact a person because they believe they can get an answer straight away and pass the workload on to the customer support agent, rather than having to browse an FAQ.


Simple Solution: Put a link to the FAQ somewhere visible. Or maybe include links to the FAQ wherever it's mentioned. I actually want to read this thing before asking a question, and if I have to go to Google and search "UX stackexchange faq" there's an issue. Also, still haven't found it yet.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.