The Stack Exchange network of sites, of which Ask Different is a member are designed to make the process of finding answers quick and simple.
The member sites provide access to easy to use and powerful search tools. Also, the answer discovery is seamlessly interwoven in the process of asking the question itself.
Here's a typical list of steps one can take when seeking an answer on Ask Different, or any other Stack Exchange site for that matter:
- Start with the search bar
Start by typing your query into the search bar. Try to include as many relevant keywords as possible. The search subsystem intelligently performs a textual search over the entire collection of questions. Experiment with variations on keywords and formation of query.
- Browse through the search results
Browse through the presented search results to see if any one of the pre-existing question matches your query.
- Advanced Search Tools
The sites provide access to advanced search operators using which you can quickly sift through the relevant result by specifying tags, section to search, see only results with answer(s) etc.
As can be in seen in the above example, how using search tools have assisted us in filtering out irrelevant results and quickly arrive at the answer we are seeking :)
- Auto suggestions
A simple but powerful search subsystem is built into the ask question UX. As you type the query title, potential matches are shown just below the text entry field. A number with green background indicates that the question has an accepted answer. Quite often, you'll end up finding answer to your query even before asking :)
- Leveraging Web search engines
The entire collection of questions is crawled and indexed by Web search engines on an ongoing basis. You can also freely choose a search engine of your choice and use its available operator(s) to specify powerful search queries. This can be helpful if you feel Ask Different's built-in search is not yielding helpful results. Often, a lot of folks end up on Ask Different via a Web search.
- Related questions
Sometimes, even after extensive searching, you may feel that you couldn't find an existing query matching your concern. It is worth looking through the related questions shown in a column towards right. Repeated navigation through this section can lead to you better matches.
If the extensive search operation hasn't yielded the desired query in the existing collection, it's time to go ahead and ask your question. For first timers it is advisable to understand what type of questions can be asked and what can't.
A friendly article explaining how to ask good questions is worth a read too.
This answer is meant to be a newbie friendly guide for discovering existing solutions to queries. A much detailed help article on how to search is available for further perusal.