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SharePoint 2010 Real-World Projects: Building a Basic FAQ Solution

Gathering Information

With the business problems defined, we can turn our attention to gathering specific requirements. This step includes looking at the unique users of the solution as well as their specific needs.

System Users

Our solution is going to be built to focus on the needs of two groups of users. For us to fully understand the requirements of the solution, the users in each group need to provide information about the specific items that they would like to include in the solution. This information will then be used to design and develop the solution.

All Employees and Partners

Employees and partners who will be accessing the solution have requested that the following items be included:

  • Quick access to the newest FAQs
  • Ability to search existing FAQs
  • Ability for the site to guide them in the process of looking for content
  • Ability to request more information if they are unable to find what they need on the site

Help Desk Support Team

The help desk support team would like to have the following items included in the solution’s site:

  • Easy interface for adding new FAQs and content
  • Ability to provide additional information for users, such as links to other content or other documentation
  • Ability for users to submit requests for additional information directly on the site

Solution Data

The key piece of information within these requirements is the FAQ. For our solution, an FAQ includes the following data elements:

  • Question
  • Answer
  • Additional links
  • Additional documentation
  • Keywords
  • FAQ category

Summarizing the Requirements Gathering Process

Now we have completed the process of looking at the requirements of the users of the solution and the types of data that it will include. It is time to start defining the solution’s design. Before we do that, however, we should take a few minutes and summarize the process we just completed:

  • Users are requesting a central location that they can access to find the answers to common questions. This would reduce their need to contact the help desk directly and allow them anytime access to the data.
  • The help desk is requesting that its staff have a central FAQ location that will reduce the number of calls made to the help desk about simple questions, allowing staff members to spend more time working on more complicated requests.
  • Since users have started working closely with partners, they have expressed a need for a common solution so that they can use the same approach for finding content no matter what environment they are working in.

It is now time to start designing the FAQ solution. In the next section of the chapter we are going to look at how we can translate these requirements into a working design.