Product Tank: Inspire with Comics

This talk and demonstration was presented at the Product Tank Lisbon meetup to a group of 36 people, including some technical communicators.

The three-hour workshop that I delivered at the Summer School had been accepted as a 90-minute workshop at the TCUK conference. Even after throwing away the screenplay part, I needed to be sure that I could deliver the initial slides quickly in order to leave time for practice.

Luís Trindade and the remaining Product Tank Lisbon organizers were kind enough to organize a meetup in short notice featuring João Craveiro and myself. After the poor attendance of the last meetup of Technical Writers @ Lisbon, this was also an opportunity to bring technical communication to other communities.

I succeeded in delivering the slides in 30 minutes, but I extended my time with an interactive demo where I asked the audience to collaborate in crafting cartoons to explain the original Sony Walkman. In the end, a few product managers in the audience said they would consider comics to introduce features of their products.

Audience at the meetup

Announcement at

Successful software products accumulate features over time, becoming more complex and harder to explain. When complex products are combined with staff turnover, knowledge of product features erodes over time, and the software products are used below their potential.

Comics can teach staff how to recognize the situations that products solve, as a starting point for further exploration of documentation and user interfaces. This presentation will explore how we can craft comics that are actually worth a thousand words.

Announcement bio at

Currently working at Farfetch, Joaquim has documented large and evolving software products that require industrial writing processes instead of just writing craftsmanship, since 1997.

In 2014, Joaquim adopted comics as a way to quickly introduce product features to new users, or to add insight to training lessons. Later, Joaquim adopted comics to show how users experience a product, and to explain the many problems solved by a larger company.

Before tackling documentation, Joaquim worked as trainer, programmer, system administrator, and academic researcher.


Product Tank Lisbon meetup
Event at, including more photos.

Thanks to Luís Trindade and the event organizers for the photos.