Comics with a global following, powered by fans

Director of Product Design

2015-2016 | San Francisco & France

#startup, #spinoff, #consumer, #comics, #crowdsourcing, #translation, #strategy, #web, #mobile, #CMS, #analytics, #research, #showcase

Fanga logo Comics with a global following, powered by fans

Viki & Rakuten Manga | Dir PD SF • Singapore • France ‘13-‘16 Fan-translation platforms for global TV & comics. Directing, coordinating, designing UX strategy across external & internal product teams. Formed & led design team. #strategy #web #mobile #CMS #analytics #research


Comics and graphic novels are created around the world, with a global fanbase. The most popular series may be translated into a few populous languages, but most content ends up distributed through scanlation groups who pirate it and spend laborious hours in Photoshop creating one translation. It is available illegally at best, and in a couple languages at most.

Viki established itself by licensing global video content for international audiences, and building accessible tools for everyday fans to legally subtitle and share the content they loved. Some of the most popular content would be translated into a dozen languages within a couple hours of its release.

Aquafadas had built a comics publishing platform in France and had expertise authoring and managing graphic novel content. Both were subsidiaries of Rakuten.

Fanga project

The Rakuten Manga team was a spinoff collaboration between Viki and Aquafadas. We applied Viki’s crowdsourced translation model to graphic novels, teaming up with Aquafadas to build translation and typesetting tools on top of their comic publishing platform.

By combining legal licensing and translation tools accessible to casual fans, we would make popular content widely available in new regions and languages. Fanga’s platform would undercut scanlation groups while providing new revenue streams for previously pirated content.

Role: Director of Product Design

I collaborated across a trans-Atlantic team to flesh out a product vision and roadmap for synthesizing Viki’s mechanics and applying them to a comic medium, working closely with our CEO in SF and CTO in France. Designed and directed a holistic platform approach, from content strategy through translation interactions and reading experience, across web and mobile.


Our team was split between Viki’s office in San Francisco, where I was based with our CEO and community manager, and Aquafadas’ in Montpellier, France, where our CTO, PM, and engineering teams, with a content acquisition team in Tokyo.


Launched a beta platform with test content and an budding fan community, began iterating on the platform with community feedback. Due to parent company’s unrealistic revenue timelines and content priorities, the initiative was prematurely canceled.

Project areas

Product Strategy High level product vision, roadmap, and prioritization. strategic approach + product areas primary scenarios + roadmap phasing + challenges functionality

Translation Platform Translation workflow (bubbles and lettering) prototyping and iteration.

Catalog & Library Content organization and navigation for translator, reader, and paid content.

Reading Experience Dynamic panel grouping behavior guidance, reader interactions.

Rakuten Manga projects

Talks at Rakuten Manga