Forms, Methods and Tools Friday, June 8th, 2018

Scientific Information Design Best Practices

Courtney Marchese, Assistant Professor of Graphic & Interactive Design, Quinnipiac University

An examination of how we can develop best practices for the future of information design/data visualization and scientific communication.

With a rapidly evolving scientific conditions and landscape, it is more critical than ever that scientists are effective at visually communicating their research findings through information design. In my experience working on data visualization for the Institute of Disease Modeling (IMD), the biggest hurdle is the fact that scientific research makes made perfect sense to the scientific community, but it is difficult to dilute the information to the point of usability for a broader audience. Without an understanding of visual design, spatial relationships and hierarchy, many of their attempts at visuals are almost useless. Generally speaking, scientists and designers WANT to work together, but they speak entirely different languages. How do we establish a working interdisciplinary relationship?

This presentation looks at the results of several interviews from designers working at the crossroads of information design and science, and how we can develop best practices for the future of scientific communication. It will also include details on the correspondence and feedback loop that occurs between members of information design/data visualization projects. In analyzing working relationships from professionals working with the Institute for Disease Modeling, New York Times Science, Scientific American, and others, I hope to provide valuable insight as to how designers and scientists can successfully work together.