I Started a Web Comic

About design and making things for people

September 20, 2019

When I was a little tyke, I would happily pilfer the comic pages from the Sunday paper and read every single one of them. (Yes, even the boring serial ones I didn’t really understand.) In middle school, we were assigned to write and create a short book. Rather than writing a short story like most of my classmates, I created a series of large single-panel strips modeled after my current favorite The Far Side. In college, I discovered web comics like Penny Arcade, Mac Hall, Ctrl Alt Delete, and PVP, many of which I still read regularly. I always thought it would be fun to write and draw a comic of my own, but I could never settle on what kind of story I wanted to tell.

Then last year, as I began honing the last major library of the UX Compendium, I had a revelation. The Scenario Comics Toolkit that I’d been building was a handy tool for telling scenarios visually and getting a design idea out without focusing on the interface. But it could also be a tool for me to tell stories about design and making things through the many lenses I’ve worked.

Thus over the last few months, the idea behind The User Stories began to grow in the back of my mind. And the more I thought about it, the more ideas that came to me: both individual comic moments as well as whole arcs and plots. Interspersed with all of that, I realized I could also comment on the current world of design. And so a little less than a month ago, I published my first comic.

The full panel for Techno-Frite Crayons, a comic published on August 28. Visit the link to read the comic in full.

The User Stories is a comic about design and about making things for people. There’s a lot of room to talk about startups, product design, consulting, the foibles of huge companies, and more, and I can’t wait to explore it all. (I also can’t wait to explore how hilariously DUMB design can be sometimes.)

The full panel for Help Needed, a comic published on September 18. Visit the link to read the comic in full.

Now ten strips in, I’m still super excited about all the ideas that have been building up in the back of my mind. I hope you’ll check out The User Stories. If you like it, I really hope you’ll share it with a friend or two.