Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
Internet-based document review
TidBITS, now in their 14th year of weekly electronic publishing, has a very successful line of manuals called Take Control. Each book is distributed as a well-designed PDF that uses a design that makes appropriate compromises that allow it to be used both onscreen and in print.
As is common for TidBITS, they freely share insights into their tools, process, and philosophy; all of which other publishers can learn from. In this article you can read about their experiences working with a team of volunteer beta testers to improve a manual using QuickTopic, an Internet-based document review and commenting system. I can't imagine any writer who doesn't want to make document review easier and it's worth reading how this type of system worked for TidBITS, as well as exploring the results, which are available for your perusal. As an added bonus, you can also download a free copy of the finished product, which serves as a good model for PDF-based documentation.