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Frequently Asked Questions
These common questions about comics and their short answers are taken from Kevin Cheng’s book See What I Mean: Using Comics to Communicate Ideas. You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.
- What tools do I need?
To create a comic, you need a piece of paper and a pencil—nothing more. However, you do need to define a few things up front such as whom you’re making the comic for and what you’re trying to get your readers to do. Are you trying to get everyone on the same page? Get customers to sign up for your site? Communicate an internal process to your team? Educate someone on a topic? In addition to answering these questions, it will be helpful to know something about your characters through research and personas.
Chapter 4 discusses these questions, while Chapter 7 covers a lot of the tools you can use.
- What if I can’t draw?
If you can draw a stick figure and a smiley face, you’re already set. In Chapter 3, I explain just how little you need to get started, and I also give a few tips to help you feel more comfortable.
- When should I use comics?
I don’t advocate that comics should be used for everything, but there are scenarios where comics are appropriate at every point in a product cycle. Whether it’s before you’ve started building a product and are still defining the requirements, in the midst of iterating on a product, or ready to launch a product, comics can have a place. Once you understand the strengths of comics and read about how others are using them, you’ll be the best judge of when they’re appropriate for your situation.
You might want to check out Chapter 8 where I discuss some applications of comics.
- How do I convince my client or team to use comics?
If you’re reading this book, then I imagine I’m halfway to convincing you that comics are useful, but you may be wondering whether you’ll be able to convince others to let you spend time drawing comics. This is probably the most common question I get when I talk about comics at conferences and workshops. That’s why I’ve dedicated all of Chapter 9 to helping you. You’ll be armed with data, examples of other companies using comics, and a few tips on how to communicate your goals.