Back in ’07, I saw an interesting presentation by Rebekah Sedaca that advocated using comics to help clients better understand a process/design/etc. Comics can help serialize interactions in a way that’s clearer than the output of interaction-mapping tools like Visio. With comics, you can also detail the responses that a visitor/user might have – something that’s not always easy to do with a wireframe. Scott McCloud’s Google Chrome Comic is an often-cited example of using comics to communicate complex ideas in a simple, narrative way.
One difficulty discussed at Rebekah’s presentation was the problem of creating quality comics. Even if you’re lucky enough to have illustrators on-staff, you’re probably not eager to spend budget on creating comics that may only be seen by your client.
Pixton, one of the sites I discovered while judging entries for the SXSW 2009 Interactive Web Awards, provides a fine set of tools to help you quickly generate and share comics. Check out their “trailer” demo movie for an example of how quickly you can build a nice looking comic. Pixton also makes it easy to embed the comics you create into blogs, web sites, etc. I also think it’s great that Pixton offers a variant that is specifically aimed at schools, allowing students to work in a “safe and secure” learning environment.