Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
Learning from mockumentation
Axe, a deodorant body spray for men, offers a parody of user documentation with "Coping with All the Ladies: The Axe Wearer's Handbook". Available for purchase, and also provided in a free promotional version inserted in some men's magazines, the booklet looks better than most software manuals.
It's also a decent example of modern, user-centered documentation design. It's fully task-based and utilizes two-page spreads with line art that adds instructional value. No task is overly enumerated, most are appropriately chunked into three steps, and interesting but non-essential notes are included as marginalia. The only "mistake" is the mislabeling of a Table of Contents as an Index. Otherwise, aside from the obvious sexism, more "real documentation" could do well to follow this example. The topic below, "How not to ruin a brand new pool table" is typical of the publication.
For more on mockumentation, see "Mini Cooper has some fun with manuals".