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CommForge2 is the course website for LAIS423/523, Advanced Science Communication, at the Colorado School of Mines. From here, you can link to student sci-tech blogs, read about the course, and comment on current events and stories. Welcome!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Design is So Obvious. Why Bother?

Question:  What does ballot design have to do with Science Communication?

Answer:  Both can get really screwed up by bad design.
Our class text for this portion of the semester is Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen.  I think it's a fun and provocative book, but it does occur to me that one might argue that it's not very rigorous in scholarly terms and that its lessons about powerpoint design might even be...obvious.

It's sort of like when my colleagues say to me, why worry about the deficit model of communication?  That's so 1990s.  Or why continue to work on public engagement in communication and policy?  We've moved past that.  Obvious, obvious, obvious.

Except that, across the board, the deficit model continues to reign supreme among specialists everywhere as the dominant worldview, and public engagement continues to be truly absent from most scientific and environmental decisionmaking, and also just plain hard to do.

Similarly, good design seems remarkably hard to come by.  Watch this short video with the hilarious Mo Rocca as he interviews Todd Oldham about voting ballot design.

Oh, hey.  I almost forgot.  Happy voting tomorrow (if you haven't already!).

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