Interview with Scott McCloud

April 7, 2009

Scott McCloud was the conference’s opening keynote speaker. Scott created the comic book that describes the technical aspects of Google’s Chrome browser. He was interviewed by Joe Welinske about the challenges of communicating highly technical information in such a unique way.

Here are my notes from this session:

  • Scott started by interviewing the engineers, using whiteboard sketches and voice recordings to gather information. The result was 20 DVDs of top secret information about Chrome.
  • Their are two critical concepts in comics: Isolation and Sequence
  • Isolation: Reduce what you have to say to a few simple representations/parameters/metaphors (e.g. a cropped screen shot not the whole thing). Amplify and simplify.
  • Sequence: Focus on what is needed NOW (e.g. need to know step 2 now so can ignore steps 13, 14, etc. for now)
  • The characters used in the comic book were real Google engineers.
  • Engineers are excited by an ‘elegant solution’.
  • Have faith in the medium and the message — get excited about what you have to say.
  • Originally designed as a printed comic, not for online, though online is how most people have now read it.
  • Difficulty with print medium: Reflow is a major issue if revisions are required that require new panels. Text was on a different layer, so it is editable.
  • There’s even a comic for Microsoft Office: The Enchanted Office (http://www.enchantedoffice.com/).

Related links:

My other conference links:

[Links last checked April 2009]


  1. […] Interview with Scott McCloud (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/interview-with-scott-mccloud/) […]

  2. […] CyberText Newsletter The official newsletter/blog of CyberText Consulting – technical communication specialists « Panoramic image stitching software from Microsoft Creating your own cartoons — for free January 24, 2010 At the 2009 WritersUA Conference, Scott McCloud, the guy who created the Google Chrome system documentation in cartoon form, spoke about the challenges of creating documentation in this way (see my summary of his opening session of the conference). […]

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