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Making FAQ Content More Accessible

Cloud created by:

Bianca McElrue
28 March 2018


I am an SME trainer of the application that the FAQ content refers to and an editor of our client-facing learning website.


The web-based application this narrative refers to has been live for over a decade. Over that time a number of FAQs have been developed to assist clients and internal support staff on topics and functionality that are less commonly used. These FAQs are PDFs that are posted to our client-facing learning website. Whilst my team are responsible for the content posted to the client-facing learning website, the Product Management team are ultimate owners of the PDF content.

We are in the midst  of a rebranding exercise due to a company merger and company/product name change which requires us to rebrand all existing content. I therefore saw this as an opportunity to convert the standalone PDFs which contain unsearchable content to more easily accessible searchable client-facing learning website articles (an article being content that is visible/accessible directly on the pages of the learning site).


I wanted to ensure that there was no loss of content during the conversion from PDF to article format, whilst ensuring that the new FAQ content was structured in a logically way for our learners to navigate.

A by-product of this conversion could also be the increase in hits to the new FAQ articles as the content is now searchable using the Search feature available on the client-facing learning website. Whilst the PDFs are also returned in the search results, this is only based on the title and tagging (minimal) of the document itself.

Actions - based on 1 single FAQ doc as a pilot

1. Reviewed the existing FAQ document for accuracy

2. Worked with SME from Product Management team to correct/review content

3. Determined structure of FAQ content in relation to menu title/location on client-facing learning website, categories to use to group FAQs and layout of web pages

4. Created articles in Joomla, our CMS (back-end of our Learning Center website)

5. Created the structure and menu to allow these articles to be displayed in the way intended (in Joomla)

6. Verified that web pages were all working as designed

7. Passed web pages over to member of my team for review and proof-reading

8. Once all review edits were made, I made the new web pages lives

9. Removed historical PDF from client-facing learning website as it would contain duplicate and incorrect information

10. Informed Product Management team that the new section is now live


As expected, initial hit rates to the new articles is quite high. We believe that this is as a result of the content being both searchable and also visible from our menu allowing users to navigate to the area.

Prior to beginning this process, there was an expectation that the content of the existing PDF was 100% accurate and up to date as the Product Management team owned this content and used to inform us when there were edits needed due to functionality changes of a new release. This turned out not to be the case as it seems that Product Management only considered specific functionality when they supplied us with their edits instead of reviewing the FAQ document in its entirety with each new release.


Factoring in more time to review content of the existing PDF is important as the need to go back to our Product Management team for their input can delay the process on our side.

In converting the document, it also feels like we've transferred ownership of the content of the document from the Product Management team to my team because we are the owners and keepers of the client-facing learning website. This isn't necessarily a negative however it does mean that the new articles now become part of our content inventory which means that we will have to audit them and consider future content edits with each new release.

Once the new FAQ content was visible on our client-facing learning website this also highlighted gaps in information in terms of what needed to be added to provide extra context to our learners. We created some of this new content as we undertook the conversion, however there are other larger pieces of content that we believe will be valuable but that we've had to add to our development list for prioritization.

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