Visual Design Lessons from Real FAQ Pages

In the online world, visual and written forms of communication go hand in hand. A good web site consists not only of concise, easily-readable text, but of pleasing format and design elements as well.

Jake Rocheleau has compiled a list of 30 websites that he sees as examples of “outstanding and distinct webpage layouts.” For ease o comparison, Jake has chosen to look at only FAQ pages. The examples he lists are varied in both format and color scheme, as well as certain features, but all of them contain the basics of good FAQ pages. From these, I chose three that I like particularly well for their ease of use, pleasing color schemes/layout, and quality of content. By looking at these examples we can glean some lessons about visual design for the web.

The first website that caught my attention was Hulu‘s FAQ page. It is organized in such a way that a lot of topics are visible at once. I like that you don’t have to scroll endlessly to find what you’re looking for since all of the topics are made immediately available to you upon first glance. This manages to looks clean, not cluttered, because it is organized in a box formation with three columns of information. On this topic, is it necessary to note that the margins are composed of blank space. There are no ads or other superfluous information that would distract the eye. So from Hulu, we may say that organization and ease of use are paramount in good visual design on the web.

Vimeo’s FAQ was the next that caught my eye. It is extensive and well organized (which is a must if you have a lot of information!). It seems that any question I could have would be answered here because they seem to cover everything, which I like. They have a “jump to topic” feature which is convenient because it saves you the time of scrolling. So from Vimeo we can see that quality information and helpfulness are important, as well as conveience in locating the information, since after all: what good is great information if you can’t access it readily?

Etsy’s FAQ page was similar to Hulu’s in that it presents the information in topics which, when clicked on, lead to questions in those topics. This demonstrates a good, clean organizational format. One thing that set Etsy’s FAQ page apart from just about every other page was the content at the bottom, which gave users an option to go to the Etsy forums or the Etsy policy webpage. This points users to another access site for more information if what they needed was not found, which points to he importance of helpfulness of not only the information present on the page but also on the links present.

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