Sunday, December 25, 2011

Product Stories Inspired By Comic Strips

In the book 'Rework' authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson talk about drawing to convey ideas. They said "If you need to explain something, try getting real with it. Instead of describing what something looks like, draw it. Instead of explaining what something sounds like, hum it. Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction. The problem with abstractions (like reports and documents) is that they create illusions of agreement. A hundred people can read the same words, but in their heads, they’re imagining a hundred different things."

Product managers can learn a lot from comic strip artists about drawing and telling a story. Comic strip artists tell a story in two to four frames every day. I recently wrote about a product story where a working mother send a text message using a voice recognition app on her phone. This is a story board I created to think about why she may have to send a message with just her thumb and voice.

Drawing you story is not about illustrations. You can grab illustrations, photos and backgrounds for free from the web and use them. For example you can save the illustrations from this blog post and use them if you want to. You can also construct your story with simple stick figures or rough sketches.

It is not about pretty pictures either. It is about conveying your idea through a medium that almost everyone in the world understands - pictures.

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