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Google's Graphic Novel: The Chrome Browser's Design Story


So Google just launched the beta version of its open-source Web browser, Chrome. The search behemoth also made available the back story of the browser?? design, available in a graphic-novel style narrative. Drawn by an artist named Scott McCloud (a leading comics expert and an early creator of online comic books) and written by the engineers who worked on Chrome, the curious document features entertaining sketches of the real-life Google team behind the new browser, replete with geeky glasses and untucked shirts, as well as cartoony images of sad browsers and insects to represent bugs in the software.

No surprises there, of course. But the document is a good example of how to make interface design and the process of writing software code seem alive to kids, tweens, and teens. Perhaps it?? a way to engage future programmers when they??e young. There?? so much talk on the need to beef up education in the States to keep innovation flowing. And educators are always searching for ways to make computer science come alive.

The Google graphic novel is a bit long ?31 pages to click through. And the format isn’t ideal; as I just mentioned, you have to click through it as if turning pages in a book, which somehow makes the experience a bit boring. Those criticisms aside, it’s an adventurous attempt at bringing the challenges of designing a new Web browser to the public in a way that’s (nearly) fun to read. I mean, it still is about buggy software, but the graphic novel concept is more effective than a group blog featuring only text.


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