Monday, June 12, 2006

Examples of Comics in Designing Customer Experiences

Comics in the design process ...

"Comicbook panels are all the rage right now for use in the design process. They're a great way to develop and illustrate customer experiences. The popularity of comicbook style recently is much due to the recent evangelizing of Kevin Chang and Jane Jao at YAHOO!, but I think the reason the idea has spread so quickly because comics are an almost universal medium. Comic storyboard panels are useful for testing out and co-developing design ideas with customers... and also quite useful in illustrating desired experiences or pending user experience train wrecks. They work equally well with engineering and marketing groups. and of course any tool that engages engineers and marketroids in the same conversation is truly valuable.

Until this spring, I hadn't thought for several years about using comic panels in design work: At Sun, we had coincidentally used a comic style in an online product tutorial many, many years ago to illustrate some software product features. It was fun, and they really told the story of the product well and internally served as a bit of a communication tool when the product was in development. But this project was long forgotten when our Chief Information Architect Jennifer Bohmbach approached me all revved up from hearing Kevin Chang speak about comics. I showed her the old tutorial panels, and she immediately encouraged our team to give these comicbook scenes new life by using them to illustrate the experiences being developed for new online products.

The use of comics in the last few weeks has already proved fruitful. Unfortunately, I can't show you the most compelling use we've put them to so far, because it's a product in early development and we used the comic panels to explore a potential user experience meltdown as disparate siloed components converged into one horrendous and disconnected experience. The pictures were really effective at helping us all understand the problem we were creating, and so we're fixing it now, largely thanks to the awareness created by the comicbook story."   continued ...   (Via

Comics In Design - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Comics In Design


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