Friday Mar 28, 2008

Comic Threads - An Experiment

We have an internal alias where various design folks talk to each other about topics that interest them. The discussions there are usually very interesting and I started to think about ways to publish the conversations on this blog. A synopsis seemed dull, and took away from the dynamics that made the conversation interesting. The thread itself could be too tedious to read post - hoc. Just for a lark, I used the template figures and to come up with this. (click to see larger version)
my comic strip! my comic strip!
I posted it back to the alias to see what people thought and of course this just spawned another interesting discussion about MS comic chat and the contemporary use of avatars.

I enjoyed the creating the comics. It did take some time to distill the essence of the conversations into a size that would fit in a comic strip. I still have lots of words and little action. Maybe I need a super hero. May be I just need to draw my characters :).

To end this post on a note of humor- I find that the job of soliciting blog post does things to ones brain. Someone said to me the other morning "Good Morning" and I caught myself thinking "hey , that would make a great blog post..... ".

Not unlike this xkcd comic strip -

Some sites to check out:

Friday Nov 30, 2007

What's your best user experience?

Really, I want to know, so I'm taking a page out of Mary Mary's play book and offering you something in return. I want to hear what your best user experience has ever been with a product, service, or technology. You get to choose, just keep it rated "G". I will select my favorite submission, and in return, happily give you some of my prized Sun tchatchki ... I have a lot of it, because I've been here for nearly 12 years :) The picture below just has what I could grab in 30 seconds in my office.

Here's how it will work. You write to me (jenm at sun dot com), and briefly describe your best user experience with a consumer product, purchase, health care visit, or anything that describes an experience where you felt like, "Wow ... all [things like this] ought to be this fun or easy." I'll choose my favorite response, and in return I'll mail you an item from the picture above -- just tell me what you'd like the most. Here are the cool things up for grabs:

  • A Jini champagne flute
  • A real Java ring
  • Lapel pins, featuring one of: Duke & Java, Jini & the lamp, 100% pure Java, Sun World Cup 1994, Happy 10th Birthday Java.
  • A watch: either a ladies' Sun watch or a mens' java.rmi watch featuring Duke
  • AnAmazing Adventures of Duke comic book from 1996, 16 pages
  • A Duke for President poster
  • A Duke for President magnet (that looks like a bumper sticker)
  • A set of 3 (yes, 3!) Sun stickers with the tag lines, "When in doubt, share." "On the path less traveled, there are a lot fewer ruts." and "The road to innovation isn't paved at all."
  • A 100% Pure Java keychain

So, send me mail. Let me know what your best user experience has been, and with your permission, I'll share it next week. With the holiday season upon us (choose whichever holiday suits you :), I'll keep asking questions, and offering up up new stuff.

Jen McGinn is an interaction designer in xDesign who is working to improve the user experience with software installation and registration. She has an MS in Human Factors in Information Design and works out of Sun's campus in Massachusetts.

Monday Aug 20, 2007

My Book Review of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Bruce Lee is a brand strategist, who works closely with xDesign to define the branded look and interactions of Software user interfaces.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud
224 pages (215 pages of comics) Black and White with 8-page color section. 6.7" x 10.2"

This book by Scott McCloud isn't just about understanding comics. The 215 pages of this 1993 book cover just about everything: time, creativity, psychology, quantum mechanics, and the whole of human endeavor. Seriously, folks, this book uses the comic book form to talk about the process of telling stories using comics. It talks about its own form. But I don't mean to make it seem like the book is either recursively academic or feverishly adolescent. The truth is that the content of this book is universally applicable to nearly any activity that seeks to communicate about the internal or external human experience. Because the comic book links language with images to tell stories, it's more effective than either words or pictures alone. What puzzles me is how this form got such a bad rap to begin with. I recommend this book first to anyone wanting to know something about art or design. Read it now. Ranking: 10 of 10


xDesign is a software user experience design group at Sun.
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