UIEtips Article: Communicating Concepts with Comics — An Interview with Kevin Cheng

Jared Spool

July 12th, 2007

UIEtips 7/12/07: Communicating Concepts with Comics — An Interview with Kevin Cheng

Over the past few months I’ve been writing about how design teams can continue to ensure that they focus on their users by creating an experience vision. Creating an experience vision allows the team to picture mentally what the experience of using a design will be like at some point in the future. This keeps the team on track and on the same page through each step of the design process.

As designs and product visions become more complex, there is an increasing need to find ways that effectively convey just how people will use the product and integrate it into their lives. While teams traditionally use requirements documents, personas, use cases, and storyboards to explain these concepts, these tools often yield suboptimal and unsatisfactory results. They suffer from being ignored after their creation, interpreted differently by everyone who uses them, and focus on the interface instead of the user’s actual experience.

Recently, more and more organizations and design teams have turned to comics to communicate difficult product and design concepts to large and diverse audiences. Comics depict user experiences and user interactions in an unintimidating, easy to follow, accessible, and portable way that gets everyone on the same page.

In this week’s article, UIE’s Ashley McKee talks with Kevin Cheng, a senior interaction designer with Yahoo! Maps and Yahoo! Local, and co-creator OK/Cancel, the best web comic on usability and design, about the emergence of comics as a tool to provide your team and key stakeholders with an approachable and easy to digest way of understanding product concepts.

Read today’s UIEtips article.

Is your organization considering the use of comics to convey product concepts? Are you already using comics in the design process? What have your experiences been with using comics? Join the discussion below about this week’s topic below.

[If you’re having difficulty communicating the concepts behind new products and features to key stakeholders, you’ll definitely want to attend this year’s UI12 Conference, where Kevin will present: Communicating Product Concepts with Comics. In this full-day seminar, you’ll learn how to rally your stakeholders and team around a shared vision for your product by using comics as a technique to convey the key concepts behind a design’s intended user experience.]

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