Comics and Interaction Design

Understanding Comics

First a personal disclaimer – I’m a big comic book fan. So big in fact that the largest position in my (now reduced) 401k is Marvel Entertainment. Hey, “invest in what you know” I’ve always been told.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is because there are plenty of relevant lessons to be learned about interaction design in understanding how comics work. This is mainly due to the fact that both comics and interaction design focus on telling a story or describing an experience – over time.

Understanding a few of the basic (and established) story telling techniques used in comics can help you both design and document user interactions.

Although our final work product is usually an application, occasionally our final deliverable is a literal comic book documenting an early product idea for socializing and validation with other team members potential customers.

A great book that I’d recommend to anyone involved in product design (and particularly interaction designers) is Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It’s actually a comic itself (of course) and is a great introduction to the world of visual communication and story telling.