Online Help is not a static document anymore and as products mature, knowledge available with end user community often exceeds the documented functionality. The information available in the product documentation is no longer the most comprehensive source of information for most users. Shorter product cycles and increasing importance of emerging markets (more languages to translate the content in) has resulted in a trend towards minimalist documentation. A large number of companies are now taking advantage of community participation. For example, LiveDocs (Adobe) already enables end users to comment on the content, a logical first step towards enabling community to author content.
According to a survey of 600+ technical communicators over the last three months conducted by us, 60 % of all respondents agreed with the following statement – “I want my end users to comment on the technical content and make these comments visible to everyone”. A strong inclination to open up technical content to end user scrutiny is a very interesting development. When we released RoboHelp Packager for Adobe AIR early this year, commenting on help content was a clear focus area. If you have not seen it action, you can download it for FREE from RoboHelp.