Siemens : Inviting questions

An open question hides a set of answers

click to view

The Site

Siemens, Germany based manufacturer of electronic and electrical equipment, incorporates a question-and-answer panel in programme information. Siemens provides information about its Siemens Graduate Program in a mini-section within the Graduates area of Jobs & Careers. An overview on the landing page is augmented by five sub-sections that can be navigated from a right-hand menu. Each of these sub-sections (for example, What to expect, Your application) has a Questions and Answers panel below the menu. When the page opens this panel is headed by a framed question with a downward-pointing arrowhead as a suffix indicating the answer set out underneath. The same question, Who is the Siemens Gradate Program targeting?, is shown irrespective of which sub-section is opened. Clicking on the question replaces the answer with a further seven questions (for example, In which corporate areas will I be working?); choosing one of these refreshes the panel with a new answer and puts the latest question in the frame above it.

The Takeaway

Siemens incorporation of its Questions and Answers feature on individual information pages is a useful and unusual use of an FAQ (frequently asked questions) style device. Supplementary details are brought within reach of the page user rather than them having to click through to a separate file. Nevertheless, as it currently functions, the full scope of the feature may escape users and is not being optimally displayed. Having a question and its answer on display when a page opens is not ideal here as it could be interpreted as a static feature. While the downward-pointing arrowhead is an accepted indicator of expanded text, there is no reason to assume it will not only retract the text if clicked but will replace it, here with the multi-question menu. The menu needs to be the default display for all the signals to fall into place and the range of information be apparent. Assuming the current display is as intended and not the result of a malfunction (which could be corrected easily) some clearer indication is needed of the option to view other questions. Varying the default question to reflect individual page content would also play up the potential of the feature.
First published 01 September, 2011
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