Personally, I'm not too keen on the phrase 'Frequently Asked Questions' - I think more often than not it provides a negative connotation where one isn't warranted.

Now obviously this is a very common term, especially when it comes to web apps & ecommerce, so I was wondering if it might be a risk to re-word this phrase.

I was thinking more along the lines of: "Useful Q & A's".

I realise this is probably more of an opinion based question, but if anyone knows of any research surrounding this type of scenario and can point me in that direction I'd really appreciate it.

  • 2
    If FAQ are in a separate page/element and you want people to use it, don't change it. FAQ is a widely known term, and personally, I don't see how it provides any negative connotation at all. However, if the FAQ are a part of another page (for instance, on the contact page right above the email form), you can reword it if you want to.
    – Tom
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 12:56
  • I can't cite any research, but I'd like to recommend my practices in cases like this: I put the naming I find most appropriate and then I put below it the commonly accepted naming that people would expect to see in brackets, in smaller font.
    – drabsv
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 11:02

3 Answers 3


I would recommend against it for the following two reasons

  1. The term FAQ has become synonymous with the part of the site where people can check out the commonly asked questions. To quote this wikipedia article

The "FAQ" is an Internet textual tradition originating from the technical limitations of early mailing lists from NASA in the early 1980s. The first FAQ developed over several pre-Web years starting from 1982 when storage was expensive. On ARPAnet's SPACE mailing list, the presumption was that new users would download archived past messages through ftp. In practice, this rarely happened and the users tended to post questions to the mailing list instead of searching its archives. Repeating the "right" answers becomes tedious, and went against developing netiquette. A series of different measures were set up by loosely affiliated groups of computer system administrators, from regularly posted messages to netlib-like query email daemons. The acronym FAQ was developed between 1982 and 1985 by Eugene Miya of NASA for the SPACE mailing list.[4] The format was then picked up on other mailing lists and Usenet news groups. Posting frequency changed to monthly, and finally weekly and daily across a variety of mailing lists and newsgroups. The first person to post a weekly FAQ was Jef Poskanzer to the Usenet net.graphics/comp.graphics newsgroups. Eugene Miya experimented with the first daily FAQ.

Hence stick to what users are accustomed to as it clearly explains what the function of the site is.

  1. Its clearly recognizable and short : The abbreviation FAQs as mentioned above is clearly recognizable and and also short which makes it easier for users to quickly scan as opposed to "Useful Q & A's" and understand its meaning. To quote this article from sixrevisions

The first time I saw an "FAQ" link was 10 years ago. I wondered about it for a while and eventually learned its meaning. Designers must be considerate of users who don’t understand technical terms. "Frequently asked questions" is clearer than "FAQ."

Also, descriptive and standard labeling is important. For example, California Court uses the label "Q&A," but that’s even more ambiguous than FAQ. Unless you have a good reason, stick with the standard label of "FAQ" or "Frequently asked questions."

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For a page as important as the FAQ can be, it is maybe dangerous to change it's name because it will make it more difficult to find.

FAQ is so much a traditional thing that you better use this term. If you don't like it, you could maybe use Frequently asked questions. This section has to be easily findable and you can't take the risk of making an user search for a long time. If people are searching for the FAQ, they will maybe don't see a similar term. If they don't find it, they will have questions and they will email you.

See the Page Label Isn’t Intuitive on this sixrevions.com post about FAQs. It is said that Q&A is sometimes used, but if you mind people who don't know well English, it can be a bad idea too.


It's only negative if you allow it to be. There are plenty of examples of FAQs that aren't negative, that are light-hearted and fun. Look at any tech startups FAQs; https://onlycoin.com/support/faq/ is a great example of simple, easy to understand and also somewhat fun FAQs.

The term itself is not associated with negativity, but often the answers searched for are based on a negative experience (like common problems associated with said product or service). However, that's up to the content creator to direct, not the user.

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