While I’m waiting for the Mac version of Google’s new web browser, wondering what complications this has in store for me as a web developer, I couldn’t help but notice how many non-hackers I’ve bumped into that could speak to the merits of processes versus threads or describe the benefits of Chrome’s garbage collection model or security architecture. Two days ago, most of these folks wouldn’t know a thread from the underside of their denims, but Scott McCloud’s comic changed that.
So why is this a hack? Well, the strip that announced Chrome’s release nicely bridged the nerd gap and managed to communicate some fairly technical content to a non-technical, though otherwise savvy potential user base. It’s not easy to get people’s attention when talking about memory management. It’s difficult to communicate an esoteric architecture decision, and to both explain the decision and demonstrate its importance while not boring your audience is even more challenging.
I’m not saying comics are the way to go for all future technical documentation, but there’s something to be learned here in terms of expanding your audience without dumbing down the content.
Also worth noting: if you want to participate in the development of Chromium (the platform behind Google Chrome) you can download the source and communicate in the forums on the Chromium project page.