Kristina Kiest

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Demonstrating the significance of laboratory and subject-specific programs to the wider public can be a hurdle for practicing scientists. Scientists are professionally trained how to read and write scientific papers, spending years of study improving writing and critical thinking skills in addition to deepening their knowledge on a subject. Jargon, cumbersome figures, and even the peer-review process itself further promotes an esoteric language that lends credibility within the field but alienates those who are not practiced at interpreting it. When low priority is given to communications and outreach efforts for a wider audience, it may foster an indifference for the support of valuable, impactful science. It may even cause harm to those who would benefit from the results by letting them remain unaware and less prepared to make informed decisions (Fischhoff 2013). This is especially true for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offices such as the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) that performs research directly impacting the community around it. Hurricane research improves the weather forecasts; ocean chemistry and ecosystems research allows NOAA to manage trust resources such as fisheries, coral reefs, and marine habitats; and physical oceanography research studies how a changing ocean affects weather, climate, and natural resources. At the laboratory level, myriad engineering advancements propel research forward for the wider scientific community. The aim of this project was to first evaluate the existing website’s effectiveness at communicating messages and then to improve upon what was already there by crafting a set of messages for premiere research projects. Those messages would then be integrated into a new, user friendly web site that utilized User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) principals, adhered to Open Government and transparency initiatives and supported NOAA’s mission and design guidelines. The new presentation of this content can be tested against previous efforts using website usage analytics software. Metrics for success include 2 statistics on delivery (such as website usage statistics and social media reach as measured by impressions) and tests of public engagement.


Department: MBE

MPS Track: TME

Location: National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

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