I got a lot of emails the last few days from readers (thank you!) who loved Google's comic book introducing their new open source browser called Chrome. The Google Chrome team supplied the words and the famous Scott McCloud — who I've talked about many times before — created the comics adaptation. It's very well done; it's very creative. I love it. But you may notice that when you go through the comic online that it's a bit clunky, this is because the pages are actually designed to be printed. It is not a webcomic, says Scott. "It was designed as a printed comic for journalists and bloggers....We'll put something even better together soon." Scott did a great job with this. Perhaps it will give you some ideas for visualizing one of your future presentation projects, in addition to teaching you about Chrome. You can download the comic here on Techmech and print it out.
Explaining your story in (comic) book form
The Google comic reminds me just a bit of a interesting piece of marketing collateral by Microsoft that they put out in the form of an illustrated children's book called "Mommy, Why is There a Server in the House?" I received a copy of the "children's book" (it's not really for children) several weeks ago after I held a seminar for one of the groups at Microsoft in Redmond. During the seminar one of the breakout groups reported that the process of developing a compelling presentation has much in common with, say, writing a children's book. That is, you must know your audience and tell the story — and teach the lesson — in a creative way that connects with them in their world while still being true and honest to the content. The emphasis, then, is on the audience (or reader). You choose carefully what is important to include and what to leave out — this is your job. Creating a children's book or crafting a presentation to explain your research are of course different things, but the essence of the creative approach may not be so different. In either case, we're still asking the fundamental questions right from the start: Who are they? And why is this important for them?