Comics and Product Narrative – Product Camp 2016 Wrap-up

Daniel Neville, who runs the Prototypes and Popcorn Meetup, ran this session. The topic was perfect to follow Shawn Callahan’s keynote on storytelling.

Daniel reminded us that anyone can sketch – even though people often think they can not. Simple sketches also mean it can be easy to understand.

He recommended the book “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud as a great resource. It’s a comic book that explains creating comics.

What does comics have to do with product management? Daniel encouraged us to use a visual narrative framework to illustrate the customer’s interaction with our products.

We talked about the 6 types of comic narrative grammar (framing) from the “Understanding Comics” (below). Referencing those 6, Daniel encouraged us to use a narrative structure to sketch out our own product stories or the customer journey map scenarios.

If visual iconography is the vocabulary of comics closure [framing] is its grammar 

Narrative Grammar:

  • Moment to moment –   illustrating specific emotional element e.g. as the customer moves through ordering a product.
  • Action to action – specific touchpoints with the actions involved
  • Subject to subject – different actors in a transaction e.g. B2B2C
  • Scene to scene – showing the passage of time and different stages in a journey map
  • Aspect to aspect – focusing on different perspectives withing a scene e.g. what is in the customers environment when they are completing a transaction, the types of distractions that may exist.
  • Non-sequitur

It was great to see some of the ideas that emerged out of this quick introduction to the principles of comics and narrative grammar.