Monday, September 08, 2008

A comic book user manual

OK, so perhaps they should be called graphic novels ... in any case, I found this article from the NY Times interesting. It describes how Google used a comic book as the technical documentation for its new "Chrome" browser. Quoting the article:

Mapping out the comic involved several brainstorming sessions. “It was, in the earliest stages, an enormously complex process, trying to work from these very geek technical details towards a visualization that would be accessible, but not condensing, not shallow,” Mr. McCloud said. Explaining new browser technology means getting into potentially eye-glazing details, but Mr. McCloud offset that arcane matter with clever, anthropomorphic depictions of overworked browsers and guilty-looking plug-ins.

For Mr. McCloud, the real opportunity was not to introduce a browser, but to show how effective comics can be at communicating complex ideas. “I don’t think the potential for comics in nonfiction has been exploited nearly as much as it could be,” he said. And what they can teach people should not be underestimated. “When you’re on an airplane and your life depends on it,” Mr. McCloud said, “comics are going to tell you how to open an emergency exit.”

1 comment:

Richard J. Cox said...

I lead a reading group focused on religion and society, and we are exploring reading a graphic novel. I have never read one, and I look forward to the experience (I think).