Collaborative Review

In code on October 31, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Making documents available for review is an obvious use of the web. But what is the best way to capture feedback on the document in a way that can be processed by the document author(s). One approach is to distribute the content and get users to track changes; but that minimises the benefit to the reviewers of work already done (since comments are not visible to other reviewers as they are created).

Far better would be to use the document’s structure to capture comments in an online system and publish comments as they are received. This approach has the advantage of allowing reviewers to build upon each others expertise and would seem to expose the document creators to a more rigorous review.

Using structured document technologies affords direct benefits of modularity, identification, selection, etc. But these abstract notions are not meaningful to users who do not equate the rigorous structuring of documents with new capabilities. The analogy with writing computer programs should not be lost here. Good system design minimises user work and maximises benefits to users. It really is that simple. 

Now to build that collaborative review system …..


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