Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, climate change, micro-pollutants in water supplies, the energy transition, or indeed the epidemiological transition… These are just some of the topics firmly on the global agenda. At key junctures, everybody – the general public, the media, decision-makers – needs a clear synthesis of the over-abundant information on these complex matters. Depending on the target audience and the topic, this synthesis can fit in a few sentences, or take the form of a report, with attractive and informative illustrations always being a key component.
Making a website attractive to search engines requires user-friendly and interactive content, informative graphics (animated if necessary), well organized menus, titles, texts and images. It is also necessary to design the pages so that they can adapt to different screen sizes (a so-called responsive website). Not to mention the “metadata” that describe the site, its pages and their content. And it is of course necessary to keep information up to date and check links to other web sites regularly.
> Infovac.ch (in French, German and Italian) • Communication in Science completely redesigned this vaccination website, now aimed not only at health professionals, but also at the general public. About one hundred icons were created to represent pathogenic microorganisms and their targets: human beings. This website jumped from 1’000 visits per day before being redesigned, to over 50’000 visits per day.
> energie-environnement.ch (in French and German) • Created by Communication in Science to provide more than 500 practical tips to save energy and preserve biodiversity and our living environment. It receives at least 6’000 visits per day.
For more than 10 years, we have been developing energie-environnement.ch/energie-umwelt.ch, the official information platform of the cantonal energy and environment departments in Switzerland. Every year, over one million visitors access this website. On google.ch, it often comes out first when looking for information on buildings and energy, the consumption of electrical appliances, waste recycling or many small problems related to everyday life. This success stems from the site offering answers and practical solutions to questions that people ask themselves, instead of providing information that people are not looking for.
Our professional ethics and deontology have always pushed us to favour assignments dealing with environmental or public health issues that require urgent action and/or adaptation. Through our experience combining science, journalism, consulting and graphic design, we strongly hope to make contributions that will make a difference.
Expressing a large quantity of information in a single illustration requires a deep understanding of the topic, a synthetic vision and a sense for the spatial organisation of graphical elements. We avoid using standard databank images – we produce our own original illustrations tailored to the objectives of each client. We deliver our illustrations in various graphical formats, to ensure their quality in print (CMYK) as well as on screen (RVB).
A stand, a museum room, an outdoor layout, a temporary exhibition: these are all challenges to be met in order to convey a scientific message. At the same time, it is necessary to offer the public playful and interactive aspects, without betraying the scientific and technical content.
It is particularly important to inform the youngest members of society in an attractive way about the most urgent challenges that we face. A problem understood early in life may generate responsible behaviour for a long time.
To deliver a scientific message that aims at inducing behaviour change, all forms of communication must be considered. For example, an illustrated story for children can deliver a message that is both pedagogical and full of moral values, which may not be welcomed by readers in a more formal article.
To reach its intended audience, a message with scientific content must in a certain sense be translated and then delivered in a digestible form. The art of science communication requires us to be fluent in the language of scientists and in the language of the target audience (ranging from key decision makers to the lay public). Of course, no vital information must be lost in the translation process, although non-necessary information does need to be cut out. In this context, the press release is an interesting challenge, because of its limited length and the lack of control over how the media and social networks will use it.