OBC improvements

I would like to incorporate a few different things in my proposal. First I took a look at the research on white nose syndrome (WNS) and other bat conservation websites.  This gave me a good understanding of WNS and what organizations are doing.  I got pretty absorbed in this step watching videos and reading about possible interventions like heating portions of caves, artificial cave construction (http://blog.nature.org/2012/10/cool-green-scientist-cave-man-cory-holliday/), and use of fungicides. The sites vary a lot from a purely text and scientific or government website type formatting such as the following to a more graphic based.



These have about the appeal of a wikipedia page.  If you were already interested, these pages provide lots of up to date information and details that are beyond what the OBC needs to provide.  The other type of pages are more like what OBC should have.  They are graphic based and have videos and other media to create an appealing page for the audience.  The main points can be taken away quickly and easily.

Here is a cute one geared to children that uses a picture book format.


This is a site similar to OBC that does a good job of highlighting WNS.


The second thing I looked at was the OBC page itself in order to better understand the organization and its mission so that this could be reflected in the proposed changes.  Doing this I found that what others mentioned as a focus on Mies’ ego seem to me to be a focus on education through live animal demonstrations and outreach.  The BatZone is a center for rescue and care of bats for demonstrations.  According to the website the majority of WNS work is done through research grants to other individuals and groups.  The information they provide does seem to be a bit out of date though and the research that resulted from their funding is not highlighted or linked.

My proposal will included changes to both the home page and the WNS section.

1. Reorganization of home page to aid in navigation and highlight WNS (5.7 million bats dead).

2. Separation of WNS page into multiple sections including more images and videos

  a. animated map of spread of WNS 2006 to present

  b. infographic that provides view of bats’ importance and inclusion in natural ecosystems and economic value – e.g. $3.7 to $53 billion in agriculture costs per year and one million bats eat between 660 and 1320 metric tons of insects per year (http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article_pf.asp?ID=2743)

  c. Add linkable content to text so that more information is available while reading through.

  d. Highlight and include the research where OBC provided funding

  e. Update information to include current intervention and prevention research – breaking news section?



Skin Cancer Awareness



Below are some poster ideas for Skin cancer awareness and checking for Colorado.  The first couple focus on young active men, since they are more likely to ignore cancer that could result in damage or death.  Then I also included one geared toward young women that sunbathe. A humorous poster is also included. Lastly is an idea for free sunscreen dispensers to be distributed at schools, parks, outdoor fitness locations, and at the ski slopes.  Bathrooms would work for this or one main large display at trail heads ect.  If you want to check out the app I made with Andromo, select the following link on your android phone.

Save your Skin is now ready for download.
Download App






Choose your own Science Story

When reading these two articles, I was taken back to the time when I didn’t have an idea of what science was.  I asked myself: What were my first memories of science?  How was my interest gained?  What drew me to science as a child and what does today?

As the daughter of engineers and science lovers, I have a hard time remembering a point where I had no understanding of science.  Some of my vivid early experiences were hands-on at children’s and science museums.  Being able to touch a Vandergraph generator, see the process of erosion with a huge interactive model, create a tornado in a bottle and walk through the systems of the human body caught my interest so much more than books and course work.  These experiences have stuck with me and I still get a lot out of similar hands-on involvement.  Though having a physical model can be difficult or impossible in some more abstract areas of science, having a visual or an analogy can really help the information stick with me even today.  For example, in my first semester of grad school, my biology professor frequently took a process or technique then made a sometimes unrelated, often crude, but always memorable example.  Relating difficult concepts in some way to what we can see and experience makes them more approachable and concrete.  This is the challenge for science media design.  Being somewhat of an outsider can be an advantage here, since realizing where visualization can be used to fill the gaps in general understanding is very difficult if you are too close and have more complete knowledge.

For me science has always been a story, but one without an end and that is really what still intrigues me.  It is like a great fiction series that you can’t put down until the last page, but instead of having a set beginning and end, scientific stories are Choose your own adventures.  The open ended stories in science leave so many questions and possibilities to explore.

Science vs Design Research

There are more and more scientific endeavors that have both goals of discovery and a marketable product.  Especially with this cross-over, the idea of science being purely about “hard truths” and facts is not very accurate.  In any case, I don’t think that “finding a definitive answer is the central goal of any experimental process”.  Definitive answers are rare in advanced studies, with many variables it not usually that simple.  In almost any experiment, the number of new questions raised far outnumbers any answers.  Also, valuable information is obtained even when a hypothesis cannot be supported or rejected.  I think McAllister put it much better.  The goal is to “deliberately advance knowledge by eliminating false theories.”  I don’t think there is much comparison between design research and experimentation.  The stages are very different.  A scientist does the background research and designs the experiment, then afterward performs, analyzes, and draws conclusions using the scientific method.  The confusion seems to be with the term research being used for both the review and gathering of any data and encompassing the entire scientific experimental process.  If you look only at the process prior to experimentation, then science and product “research” are very alike.  “Design Research: What Is It and Why Do it?” by Panthea Lee did a good job of showing this.  The steps listed are applicable to any thorough preliminary investigation of a problem or project.  The data and context are different, and the “actionable format” might be the “best-guess” for testing a hypothesis, but the general ideas are the same.  I have seen very similar steps while learning about designing research.  Whenever approaching a new project, review of the current technology or knowledge, consulting with experts, and familiarity with the problem and context are very important.  The presentation of data collected in this way can be biased and confusing especially with infographics.  Making sense of it can really help with understanding, but this type of research shouldn’t be overvalued.  Background research is a valuable tool, but the goal in design is the development of a product not collection of information.
Thought I had already posted this, but I must have done something wrong.