A few weeks ago, I mentioned a few examples of companies using comics to convey an idea or product to their potential customers. One such company is the “social reality game” called Akoha. They use a short comic strip on their homepage as well as a longer story that describes their product in depth.
While this is a critique and will cover a number of negative points about the comic, I want to emphasize that even in its current form, it is much more understandable and likely to be read than any other marketing or product tour they might have used instead.
Akoha not only uses a comic for their product tour, they also feature a comic strip prominently on their homepage. It would be difficult for me to fault such a decision given my own application of the same for the company I work at. However, a couple of minor points could be improved upon.
Firstly, if you look at the screenshot, the first thing you probably read was the comic. It’s easy to believe that introductory text should precede the comic but once viewed from afar, it’s immediately evident that the comic strip is the first, and possibly only, thing a new visitor might read. If support copy is necessary, I’d recommend putting that underneath the comic instead so that it’s read immediately following the end of the comic.
Secondly, in terms of the details of the comic, I think they use the right amount balance between detail and abstraction. Their cards aren’t incredibly detailed so you don’t focus on them. Instead, you’re focused on the story flow which is much more important in this case. However, in the final panel, it didn’t occur to me until I read the comic for the third time that it was not a depiction of the card but, in fact, an iPhone instead. One way to solve this confusion would have been to add more detail to the iPhone but instead, perhaps even just a zoomed-in view of a map would have sufficed. A map is easily recognizable by readers and most probably also know that maps can now be viewed on almost any device.
Lastly, the dialogue in the second panel is unclear in terms of what order the dialogue is being spoken. Further, the dialog itself is not very descriptive of what is happening. I think one could probably condense the first page or two of their product tour into a homepage 3-panel comic strip.
Based on what little I know about the company and their product, I might try a comic scripted liked this:
SCENE: TODD sitting with HARLENE at what is clearly a café.
CAPTION: Todd, a master Akoha player, buys Harlene a coffee.
HARLENE: Oh, what’d you do that for?
SCENE: EXTREME CLOSE UP of TODD’s hand holding an AKOHA CARD. Only the title is visible.
CARD TITLE: Buy a friend a coffee
TODD (from off panel): I’m playing this Akoha pay-it-forward card.
SCENE: CLOSE UP of a map with lines and points like an Indiana Jones movie, perhaps with one or two UI elements to indicate it’s a screen.
CAPTION: “You can see this card has traveled through 40 people …”
LOWER CAPTION: “… and now I’m passing the card to you, Harlene!”
In another blog post, I’ll talk a bit more about writing comic scripts and translating those to art. For now, I leave it up to you to visualize what this comic might look like and I will do a rough sketch of it in a later portion of the review.
If you’re finding these reviews useful, please let me know in the comments. I’d also appreciate any suggestions for posts you’d like to see here as I develop more and more of the book!
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