How can I help you?
I’m Janto McMullin, a web designer currently living in Turku, Finland
For the past five years, I have worked with academics, regulators and industry analysts to help them communicate to a wider audience and help people learn complex facts.
I founded this company because many of my friends struggled to share meaningful research and insight.
Good design has enormous potential to increase the impact of your work and make it more accessible to non-experts. But where do you even start?
I know there's a lot of confusing information out there, so here are four key things you need to do to use design strategically and get value out of it.
Talk to Your Audience
Good design does not happen in a vacuum, so you have to connect with people and have a pretty good idea about who is interested in your topic of expertise! It's also an important first step in testing if people are interested in specific ideas.
Focus on Their Needs
Think about how you're helping your audience achieve a goal. You will probably have to make tradeoffs, so you need to know the audience and concentrate on the things that are going to help them. Don't make assumptions, test different approaches and collect real feedback!
Tell Interesting Stories
Let's face it. People love stories. They help us make sense of the world. Visual design is a lot like body language and tone here - it can reinforce or subvert your core message, but it's rarely neutral without being boring. Don't be boring.
Don't Over-Design Things
It's easy to get caught up in creating templates or brand guidelines. How many times have you sat through presentations with lots of cluttered, heavily branded slides that made it hard to read the main content? Keep things simple, and keep them flexible.
So what's next?
I'm currently working on building a resource center for researchers and teachers to use that explains how to engage with your audience, find out what they need and how they talk about their problems, and then develop meaningful online resources that meet these needs. If you find this message in a bottle and have any suggestions, please contact me!