Make them the questions people come with

Too often I find that web writers have turned their information into questions and answers, but it's still their information - what they want to tell people about themselves, not what their site visitors come to learn. The web writers have not thought deeply enough about their audiences and the questions those people have. They haven't organized the page by putting the questions and answers into an order that is logical to their web site visitors.

Case Study 10-1 shows how we can take a set of organizationally focused questions and turn them into a set of reader-focused questions.

Case Study 10-1

Making question headings ones that site visitors would ask

If you want to complain about a bank in the United States, you might get to the web site of the U. S. Department of Treasury. They regulate nationally chartered U. S. banks. However, they are not the right place to go if your complaint is about a bank that is chartered by a specific state - a distinction few people have thought about.

Here's how their web page about consumer complaints and assistance started in 2006:

^^^^ Comptroller of 1he Currency ^^^Ê Admlnrttralor of National Banks

ENSURING A SAFE AND SOUND

NATIONAL BANKING SYSTEM FOR ALL AMERICANS

? Search

Search Tips I Subject Inda- I Site Map I Directory Contact tha OCC

Community £ffaif* Corporate Applications ÇRA Information Coniumtt Corv»pU>ntï and Aiiiitanct

Community £ffaif* Corporate Applications ÇRA Information Coniumtt Corv»pU>ntï and Aiiiitanct

Cuttamtr Aitliun« Brochure (PDF) Ombudsman ftsport

Information Quality f Section 515} (PDF) AnW'Fraud Resources Counterfeit R «potting Form

Consumer Complaints and Assistance

The OCC's Cuslomer Assistance Group is ready 10 help customers cl national banks with ' questions or complaints they have about their financial institution CAG's loll-free lines are open Monday Ihrough Thursday. 9 a.m. to A p.m.. Central Time, and on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Central Time, you can react- one of OCC's Customer Assistance Specialists by calling 1i00i13£M3 -

Below, you will find a sel of questions and answers wilh information ihal should prove useful if you have a problem that requires assistance from the OCC.

The following links can be used to navigale within the contents of this page: ■

The OCC Cnîtoinet Assistance Gtmm fCAG) The OCC'i Complaint Process Conlaclinfl a Customer Assistance Special hit Filing a Formal Cnmnlaim WhMiynu need other help

The first paragraph is key ^ J information, but many people will skip over it and go directly to the links.

If they notice the phone ^ J number, they may call when it is the wrong place for them to complain.

The second and third f J-v J paragraphs add no useful i information.

Do site visitors ask "What r 'Aj is the OCC?"

www.occ.treas.gov/customer.htm

How well does this meet the needs of the site visitors it is for? Just think about the mental state of the person who wants to lodge a formal complaint about a bank! What adjectives come to your mind about this site visitor?

I'm so upset and angry at\

what my bank did! This is \

intolerable! I'm going to file 1

an offical complaint with

the government! S

^sJ

Does this site visitor really want to know what the OCC is? The upset site visitor in the picture on the previous page might not read "What is a national bank?" because he doesn't yet know it is a question that is important for his problem.

How might the Department do a better job of getting its critical information to angry and upset people and also save themselves calls from people who should go elsewhere with their complaints? Revising the beginning and writing the question headings from the site visitors' point of view might help.

Consumer Complaints and Assistance

Related only to national banks and their subsidiaries:

How do I know if rov bank is a national bank? Yes, it is a national bank. What do I do lo complain or get help? No. it is not a national bank. What do I do now?

Put the key message right yc/^ up front in very few words.

Now the site visitor has about national banks.

reason to want to know

We are the right office to talk to if you have a complaint or need help with a national bank or one of its subsidiaries.

How do I know If my bank is a national bank?

National banks usually have the words "national" or "national association" in their titles or the letters N.A. or NT&SA following their titles. About 28% of insured commercial banks in the United States are national banks.

Yes, It Is a national bank. What do I do to complain or get help? Call us at 1-800-613-6743.

Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Time-

A Customer Assistance Specialist from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency can help you by answering your questions, offering guidance, and helping you to resolve complaints about national banks and their subsidiaries.

X""\ Fragments are better than ("CJ paragraphs for phone numbers and times.

Some people will be left with ' J this question. Always try tc answer questions people have, even if it means sending them somwhere else.

A possible revision

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