Today MadCap Software released a new community-written newsletter. Up to now, if you’ve received one of MadCap’s newsletters, you’ll know that they have been written by people on MadCap’s staff. They have sales-focused newsletters and support-focused newsletters, but they have all come from the MadCap staff.
This new newsletter, MadNewz, will primarily be written by community members. The inaugural newsletter is a commentary post featuring ten “best practices” for single sourcing. (Read it.)
In this first newsletter, the author uses a conversational, informal tone that doesn’t sound like corporate-speak (which I think was intentional). It contains some useful information for current Flare users, the primary audience. This is a cool idea, as it will give community members a chance to contribute and let their ideas and work be showcased by MadCap. The bottom of the article includes an e-mail address to write to if you would like to contribute to a future article.
Some things I would change: first, the weird gradient background doesn’t work for me. It distracts me from what I’m reading, which isn’t great design. Second, it was only after I read the article twice that I noticed the author’s information in the sidebar. I would have preferred to see the author’s name beneath the post title. When I’m reading articles on the web, I generally tend to ignore sidebars because they generally include navigational information, or other content not directly relevant to the article I’m reading. I found it confusing that the author info was in the sidebar—so much so that I almost posted here that I was disappointed that the author wasn’t given credit. These are very minor shortcomings, however.
All in all, I’m pleased with the direction, and look forward to some quality community-driven content in the newsletter.