A Trial Cartooning to Promote Understanding of a Scenario

  • Shigeyoshi IizukaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9734)


A cartoon is a mode of expression already accepted by all age groups, from children to adults. It is generally believed that expressing by a cartoon makes it possible to convey something that is easy to understand or interesting to readers, or both. This paper describes a trial cartooning of a scenario that reveals how to improve a scenario through cartoons. In this trial, four scenarios were chosen; they were cartooned using a digital cartooning, instead of being hand-drawn. This paper describes the details and results of the cartooning trials, as well as the implications of the results. Further research may estimate the validity of the produced cartoon and develop an approach for cartooning of a scenario in the future.


Persona-based scenario methodology Cartoon expression User experience Digital cartooning tool 

1 Introduction

The persona-based scenario methodology is followed in the analysis of user requirement in an upstream process of design; this methodology is followed to develop a product that a user would like to use. The advantage of using a person to draw upon users’ behavior is that all the members of the design and development team can together determine the target users, setting, timing; and purpose of their product as well the method to use it. The persona-based scenario methodology helps a design team to focus on users’ needs. Further, it helps to change the concept of the designer’s work from a mere product or website to a thoughtfully designed users’ experience of using the product or the website. The scenario-based method need not involve text written in sentences. When applying the method that can help to visualize a user’s behavior more intuitively, something like a storyboard with pictures or illustration will be more effective.

Hence, for the designers to share the contents of a scenario more effectively and gain a better understanding of it, a trial in which a scenario was depicted in a cartoon was conducted. The trial is described in this paper.

2 Trial Cartooning

The tool used for cartooning in this trial is introduced. Additionally, the application of cartooning is described.

It is thought that “expressing by a cartoon” affects the sensitivity of a person more than “expressing by sentences” does. Hence, I thought that the trial of “cartooning a scenario” was suitable to express the value the user appreciates by using the target design equipment or system, that is, the contents equivalent to “value scenario” in the framework of the structured scenario method [1]. Indeed, I made “value scenario” the subject of cartooning. Thus, “scenario” means “value scenario” in this paper (Table 1).
Table 1.

Three types of scenarios in the structured scenarios method

Classification of scenario


Value scenario

The value and essential request for the user: the offer policy for business provider

Activity scenario

The user’s activity: one scene of a value scenario

Interactive scenario

Operation in detail to the target: one scene of an activity scenario

2.1 Cartooning Tool

The one who is not good at drawing a cartoon is not inadequate. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the psychological burden at least a little bit.

In recent years, cartoons have been often drawn digitally; general users have been offered certain digital cartooning tools. This trial involves a digital cartooning tool “ComiPO!” [2]. ComiPO! is a cartoon design tool involving 3-D characters. It has various presetting systems. We can illustrate various expressions and poses through transformation with the shape of the hand and slight adjustment of the inclination of the head simply by choosing the characters and basic parts from the presetting feature. The balloon, MANPU, and the effect line peculiar to a cartoon expression are also developed (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1.

Authoring Screen of ComiPO!

2.2 Implementation 1

In this trial, the following four patterns were created.

Only one college student applies the cartooning technique. The scenario indicated in Table 2 is used as the material, and the cartooning technique is applied by using ComiPO!
Table 2.

Implementation targets

Scenario and persona

Volume of the scenario (Number of characters in Japanese)

Maker (*)

Pattern A



Pattern A’



Pattern B



Pattern C



*It denotes whether “persona and scenario creator” and “the person who applies the cartooning technique” are identical personalities.

First, regarding Pattern A, the student created the scenario and persona that were cartooned. Therefore, one individual created the scenario and persona as well as cartooned it; this pattern demonstrated the cartooning of a design-related aspect of the scenario and persona without misunderstanding. The scenario and persona of Pattern A’ are created by a different student. Regarding Pattern B and Pattern C, the scenario and persona were created by different individuals. In other words, in this trial, one individual cartooned for all the patterns, but different individuals made each set of scenario and persona.

In fact, a storyboard was once created using a scenario according to a student’s judgment of cartooning, and the scenario was cartooned based on that (Fig. 2). A storyboard contains panel layout, composition of each panels, serif, arrangement of characters, and so on.
Fig. 2.

Work flow of cartooning

2.3 Results

Figure 3 shows the hours that each cartooning pattern took. As expected, the working hours for Pattern A were the shortest because the student who was assigned cartooning created the persona and scenario as well as understood its aim well. Moreover, she was cartooning using ComiPO! for the first time, when she performed the task of Pattern A. The fact that the process was so fast implies that there was less time than that for the other patterns.
Fig. 3.

Working hours for each pattern of cartooning

On the other hand, considerable time was needed for Pattern B and Pattern C, but less time was needed for the sentence volume of the scenario than that for Pattern A and Pattern A’. Therefore, the relative volume of scenario-related sentences may not always affect the hours spent in cartooning.

Conversely, in terms of the hours spent in cartooning, Pattern C took longer than the other patterns took, although Pattern C was performed at the end and its volume of scenario was less. The interview of the student in charge revealed that she needed time because she was fussy about detailed visualization and repeated her trial-and-error attempts. However, the result that is evident in such a detailed expression for readers is noteworthy. Therefore, this extra time cannot be deemed unnecessary.

In this trial, the judgment of how to visualize specific parts was entrusted to the student in charge. Figure 4 shows how the interaction in specific parts of the scenario was expressed in the cartoon.
Fig. 4.

Interaction of scenario and produced cartoon (excerpt)

2.4 Implementation 2

In addition, to reveal the difference among the cartoon creators, another student performed the cartooning. In this case, the targets of cartooning were Pattern B and Pattern C. That is, scenario was not created; it was only cartooned. Until that stage, she had not used ComiPO! She used it in this trial for the first time.

Figure 5 shows the comparison between the hours spent by these two students who were assigned cartooning.
Fig. 5.

Comparison between hours spent by the two students who were assigned cartooning

Figure 5 shows that even when cartooning was conducted for the same scenario, there was a difference in the working hours spent by a person.

Furthermore, there was also a difference in terms of the quality of the completed cartoon.

3 Discussion

Regarding the visualization of a scenario, how to visualize each part can be considered a crucial element. This element is evident in the working hours and cartoon. As indicated in the previous chapter, the hours spent in cartooning can differ substantially among individuals. Furthermore, there is also a difference in the quality of the completed cartoon. As stated above, the difference in the quality of the completed cartoon or the considerable time needed in cartooning can hinder the cartooning of a scenario. Therefore, a technique that considerably varies among individuals is needed. Such a technique will be a one-solution method to enable the cartooning of a scenario.

4 Conclusion

It is generally believed that expressing through a cartoon influences the process of conveying something that is easy-to-understand or interesting to people. Further, cartoons appeal more to the sensitivity of people than sentences do.

This paper describes a trial cartooning of a scenario. In this trial, a digital cartooning tool “ComiPO!” was used instead of the hand-drawing technique. “Value scenario,” which expresses the value appreciated by a user, was the target for cartooning. Four kinds of scenario were created. A student cartooned all of those and checked the difference between the working hours. Furthermore, another student cartooned the two kinds of scenario, and the difference between the working hours was seen. The results showed that
  • The relative volume of the scenario sentence may not always influence the hours spent in cartooning

  • Even when a scenario was cartooned, there was a difference between the working hours spent by a person.

I aim to develop a method involving cartooning of a scenario in the future.


  1. 1.
    Yanagida, K., Ueda, Y., Go, K., Takahashi, K., Hayakawa, S., Yamazaki, K.: Structured scenario-based design method. In: Kurosu, M. (ed.) HCD 2009. LNCS, vol. 5619, pp. 374–380. Springer, Heidelberg (2009). Special issue of Japanese society for the science of design, vol. 18-2, no. 70 (2011) (in Japanese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business AdministrationKanagawa UniversityHiratuskaJapan

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