Comics for therapy and outreach

Comics for therapy and outreach

As a truly immersive medium, comics are a great way to engage and touch lives. I’ve recently came across a beautiful digital comic called Cancer Owl created by Matthew Mewhorter who is currently undergoing cancer treatments. Matthew turned to drawing comics about his treatments as a way to cope and share with others who are also going through…

3 ways how context gauges social media campaign success

3 ways how context gauges social media campaign success

There is no set formula for determining the success of a social media campaign. Something along the lines of “if you get over X number of retweets or reach on Facebook, then you were successful” doesn’t apply to the social media campaigns because each has its own unique goals (you are thinking about the goals first, right?)…

Everyone has the ability to learn how to draw

Everyone has the ability to learn how to draw

If you’ve grown tired of seeking out stock photos that no one else already used a million times for your digital content and social media posts, you may consider drawing your own cartoons. You’ll end up with an original image and maybe even a recurring character for future posts! Wait. What’s that you say? You don’t know how to draw? If you’re familiar with the popular comic kxcd, then you can understand how stick figures can still be effective in conveying a message or a concept. It’s what makes napkin drawings so effective. But what if you don’t want to draw stick figures? Perhaps they aren’t a good fit for your brand? You’re still in luck because… Anyone can learn how to draw. Really! When I was in computer animation school way back when dial up Internet was all the rage, the big lesson that was drilled into us was that the computer is only a tool. You still need to know how to draw if you’re planning on making art with it. So I thought I was headed for a really bad grade in art school when one of the compulsory courses was figure drawing. We’d be learning how to draw actual people. With models. I’ve never been able to draw realistic renderings of people. Animals, objects, and aliens, yes. But people, no. So it was to my surprise when on the very first day of class, the professor told us the unexpected – “anyone can learn how to draw”. Except me, I thought. I believed the ability to be able to draw people realistically was a skill you...
How to apply SEO and accessibility to infographics and comics

How to apply SEO and accessibility to infographics and comics

I’m a long time fan of infographics as they can provide a truly engaging way to present data in a visual and easy-to-understand way. I feel the same way about comics as a similar format to convey information with the additional benefit of creating empathy with your audience while educating and entertaining them. However, all that text in graphics is a big no-no. Be mindful of SEO and people using assistive devices such as screen readers, text-to-speech for people with cognitive impairment, and refreshable Braille devices, when posting infographics and comics. Currently, search engines can’t read and index text in images. And people using accessible devices rely on webmasters to take the time to properly describe images. There are two things you can do to fulfil this… 1. Talk about your graphic Add an intro paragraph or an outro paragraph. As long as it’s descriptive of the information in the graphic. In web accessibility circles, this is known as providing a “long text alternative”. Use the keywords your audience is using and other SEO best practices. This way, Google will be satisfied and most importantly, people using assistive devices can enjoy your content. As of this writing, Google likes to give higher rankings to pages with at least 300 words. That may sound like a lot of text to introduce a comic or infographic but really, the quality of your content is what matters now. So make sure your content is worth your audience’s attention in the first place! 2. Use ALT and TITLE tags to their full potential It’s important to fill in those ALT and TITLE tags your...
How I used Periscope at a live event

How I used Periscope at a live event

I’ve dabbled with Periscope and Meerkat with my own personal live streams (such as offering a sneak peek at the progress of my next comic book). Last night was my first time using mobile broadcasting for an event. I had the pleasure of live streaming the very interesting #DisruptHRTO, an event for recruitment and HR professionals sharing new ideas since digital technology has disrupted their industry, too. There were 12 presenters who had 15 seconds for each of the 20 slides they put together on their topic about talent. Tickets for the event sold out pretty quickly so I raised the idea to my friend and co-organizer, Jeff Waldman, of live streaming #DisruptHRTO  for those who weren’t able to attend. We decided to use Periscope over Meerkat because, well, we just liked it better! So, what I did was: Got the word out. Those who couldn’t get tickets needed to know! So we tweeted that the event would be live streamed and included instructions to download the Periscope app and follow me on Twitter. This way, users would have as low a barrier to viewing the event as possible. Periscope (and Meerkat) is a very new app so not many people may have heard about it. Created a promo ad. I created one that was optimized for sharing across social networks so no wording would get cut off in news feeds. Used a tripod. To save my arms during the 2.5 hour event and avoid camera shake, I brought along a tripod and my trusty Joby Grip Tight Mount to hook up my iPhone. Brought my charger cord. This way, I didn’t run out of...
How to ensure your infographics and comics aren’t cut off in news feeds

How to ensure your infographics and comics aren’t cut off in news feeds

That infographic, comic, or other kind of visual you want to post on social networks that you or your team worked on and can’t wait to unleash to the world… may only end up getting parts cut off across social networks. Unfortunately, each social network (and app – they have their own dimensions, too) has its own dimensions for showing visuals in news feeds making it a little time consuming for content producers to have to retrofit visuals so users across networks see what they need to see. Especially any wording.   This is important because a golden rule of user experience design is never expect/assume users will click on your fascinating content without knowing what to expect. They may not think it’s as fascinating as you do. So if part of your promo copy has been cut off on a Twitter feed, your promo will look ugly and incomplete. Not your fault of course. It just makes your hard work a little less engaging. Fortunately, someone has found a one-size-fits-all template. Until the next time social networks and apps make new, quick changes to their sizing. But for now, check out this brilliant post, One Image to Rule Them All: Size Specs to Work Across Social Media, Garrett Heath of Rackspace Digital. It offers a template that works for most major social networks. I gave it a try for the most recent campaign that I ran and it worked like a charm. Show the best part of a long infographic Keep in mind that the dimensions used on social networks tend to be rectangular and horizontal (or square like...