Ask provides users with a place to submit questions and get answers from other real people. The website essentially hosts questions and answers supplied by its user community. The topics vary widely, including a number of general areas such as pets, politics, science, relationships, life, hobbies, arts, education, computers, fitness and business. The user can browse categories or search for an existing question. The user can also submit a question that has not already been answered (although this is not monitored closely because some questions are repeated). The site maintains a list of questions and answers submitted by the user so they can return to them later. The site maintains a number of social networking tools by allowing users to make connections to one another while sharing their knowledge or requesting an answer.Show more screenshots »
Ask was created to help users get answers to their pressing questions. The application provided an easy way to ask a question without feeling intimidated or embarrassed. Users could also share their expertise and experience by providing answers, creating a circle of interaction. The website has grown to include a number of questions, claiming to receive inquiries from millions of people daily. Some users may find that the large size has also lead to some repetition in the questions that is not carefully monitored. Users may have to explore a number of question and answer sets to find what they need rather than visiting just one page with all the answers to a single question.
There are no major differences between Ask and other question and answer style websites. The concept is very simple: the user can ask a question and other users can respond with an answer. This system works relatively well for the site’s intended purpose. Adding too many features might make the application more confusing than it really needs to be. Ask also encourages user interaction by allowing users to create a friends list (called connections) so they can stay in touch or help one another out when more questions come up later on.
Ask takes a careful approach by keeping its website very clean, perhaps a little too clean. The white background is most of what a newcomer sees when visiting the site for the first time. Hints of color are found throughout, but these are corralled into buttons, headers and the site logo. There is something to be said for using a minimalist design, which allows the user to easily find the answers they have come for without wading through distractions.
A new user is not required to log in to search for questions and answers. Users who would like to utilize all Ask features will have to create an account. This is done by clicking the white “Sign In” link in the upper, right hand corner of the page. A pop up box appears and invites the user to sign in using Facebook or LinkedIn. If the user prefers to create an Ask account, they can click the blue “Sign Up” link at the top of the box. The box will switch to the registration form and ask the user to supply an email address, username and password. After submitting the form, the user is automatically logged in to their new Ask account.
Ask needs users to be present to ask questions and provide answers. Charging a fee for this service would be a bit insulting to the user community it relies on. Luckily the creators of Ask have kept it appealing by offering free access to all users. Everyone can create an account and utilize all current feature for free. There is no charge for asking questions and the user can participate as often or infrequently as they like.
Ask is a helpful application for anyone who has a question that needs answered. General questions are better for this type of service, although some can get very detailed and still receive helpful responses. The application is very easy to use and gives the user total freedom as far as topics are concerned. Users can return as often as they like and ask one question or one hundred.