There is a very difficult and endless battle between these two fellows — Walkthroughs and FAQs.
They both have the same goal but use a very different method to achieve it.
On the left side of the ring, you have FAQs, a document that contains information in question-answer format. On the right side, you have walkthroughs, guides that interact with the viewer while using a service.
“There’s a phenomenon in the software business called the aha moment. It’s the moment when the value of your product becomes clear crystal to the user. They say, Oh, okay, I get it now!” – Helpscout
The purpose of walkthroughs and FAQ’s is to lead users to this moment. They are customer service tools to guide visitors on a webpage. Also, they answer possible doubts they might have about a product or how to use it. Meanwhile, technological and social advances are influencing the use of walkthroughs more and more.
“One of the biggest issues of the software companies is creating documentation: no one enjoys creating them or reading them.” – Hugo Magalhães, Helppier CEO
The process of creating an FAQ document is much more complex and time-consuming than the process of creating a walkthrough guide. If you are using the right tool, anyone can easily create one in a matter of minutes.
Also, the fact of having features capable to guide users step-by-step to the point where they feel comfortable using the application, instead of forcing them to read dozens of pages of boring information, make walkthrough tutorials a more effective and motivating way to support your customers.
Successful companies like Dropbox have figured it out:
Walkthroughs vs FAQs:
- Unlike FAQ’S, walkthroughs can be used in many different ways. Also, they give the possibility to learn while using the application, without changing tabs. That way users learn faster and build a more interactive relationship with the app.
- These step-by-step user guides can be seen on your website all the time or appear in a precise moment, reporting specific information. To access FAQ’s, the user is forced to find this option in the app.
- Walkthroughs interact with the user’s actions, for example when they click on a specific button or hover a page section. Furthermore, it is possible to target messages to specific user groups such as first-time users.
In this golden age of technology where something out of the box is created every year, FAQ is becoming outdated. New users expect personalized, on-page activity to get the information they need without having to spend too much time on research.
For that reason, the business trend nowadays is to provide interactive customer service with real-time chats and guided tours. This doesn’t mean you can erase FAQ from your life but you should use walkthroughs as a first “aid” on your website.
Don’t make users search for documentation, help them before they even ask!