Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
PopSci's interactive magazine
Popular Science is countering the proliferation of documentation for dumb people with their new Genius Guide series. The first of the quarterly issues focuses on home entertainment systems. I contributed an article on do-it-yourself automation of a home theatre system.
PopSci is using the Zinio e-magazine platform for this project, but they're approaching it in a unique way. Usually Zinio publications are electronic versions of printed magazines and are page-for-page identical to their printed counterparts. But not the Genius Guides. They're only available in Zinio format and the publishers have added lots of interactivity and every page is designed for widescreen viewing. As a result many of the constraints of paper publishing have been avoided, although the Zinio platform still maintains some vestiges of its magazine heritage. With an introductory price of just 99 cents the first Genius Guide is an inexpensive way to see how one publisher is trying new approaches to traditional publishing. For a peek and discussion, see Stop the Presses on the PopSci blog.
For more about my contribution, see The Remote-Control Living Room on my personal blog.