Science Communication: a practical guide for designers

3 February 2014

Following our poster design guide for researchers, we are now working on our third online publication and accompanying workshops supported by the Wellcome Trust.

 

We know scientists can benefit from learning about design, but we also believe the design industry can benefit from being better informed about science in order to be useful to it.

 

Who is it for?
A. The scientific community – to increase empathy with the public, encourage government funding and improve understanding of other sciences.
B. Non scientists – to facilitate informed decision-making and negotiation of our increasingly technological society.

 

Why is design important for science?
Scientists can benefit from involvement with designers, assisting them with data visualisation, communicating statistics and communicating science as a process.

 

Unfortunately collaborations between scientists and designers have often proven problematic due to:

 

1. Designers often have a lack of understanding about science, causing some scientists to dismiss their value in this field.
2. Scientists, having received a lack of education in visualisation for communication, are often unsure as to what they are looking for.
3. Scientists often have a lack of understanding about what design is, commonly confusing it with art, fashion or ‘style’ – see article. Artists have their own messages to impart which confuses the scientific content, so the distinction between art and design needs to be understood.

 

Call for scientific data
A proposal we are investigating is that programming could be the shared language between scientist and designer- read Anne’s blog discussing this topic.

 

This guide will include a programming section for which we need sample scientific data to work with, in order to see how we can create interactive / participatory design solutions.

 

Is there something useful we could work on for you from a science communication / public engagement point of view? Let us know if you have data that you think we could interpret and we’ll be happy to send you the results of our research.