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Liesbeth Smit

About Liesbeth Smit

Liesbeth combines her knowledge of science communication, technology and design to explain difficult topics to a wide audience. You can use her practical tips immediately in your (poster) presentations to create a bigger impact. She developed dozens of websites, infographics and animated videos, and regularly gives workshops about design at The Online Scientist.

How to use content design to improve your science communication

What is content design? Content design is organizing, structuring, formatting and designing texts and combining them with images to create visually attractive and user-friendly content for your website, brochure or other documents. If you have a good text, but it looks like a long piece of text without formatting, people are less likely to want to read it. A nicely formatted text where various components such as headings, paragraphs, frames, quotes and references are easily recognizable enhances the user-friendliness of the text. Content design transforms your text into a visually attractive design to ensures that your key message becomes clear at a glance Write short paragraphs of 5 lines In a book or scientific publication you can get away with long pieces of text, but on a website or brochure you have to be short and to the point. Therefore you should write paragraphs that are about 5 lines long. This makes it more attractive to read and forces you to limit yourself to the key message. Use headings Headings (H1, H2, H3, H4) not only improve the readability and scannability of a page, they also help with search engine optimization (SEO). For a content designer, nothing is worse than a title written in bold font…. So write a title for each paragraph and ensure it has a hierarchy that makes sense: when you write about mammals with an H2 heading, the headings Humans and Apes that fall within that category are both H3. Write your title as a summary Don't write a descriptive title - rather, make it a summary of a paragraph. This way it is easier for people to scan your page and get a first impression of the content. So you should not [...]


Different logo types for your website

"I want a logo!” With these words every logo design process starts. But this isn't enough for a designer to develop the new logo for your website. It helps to know what type of logo you want, or, at least, what your preferences are. Here you find the different styles of logos so you can tell your designer what type of logo you prefer. Logos are not what you think they are Most people think a logo should include an element that shows exactly what the company is about. If you're a bakery it should include a picture of bread, if you're a hairdresser it should include some scissors. This is an old way of thinking about logos, and it's particularly bad when we talk about logos for more abstract concepts or scientific studies. Usually, the more abstract a company, initiative, or research department is, the more cliché the logo becomes. Can you imagine the Disney logo to include Mickey Mouse and a dalmatian as an icon? Or the Philips logo to include a collection of light bulbs? Or a research study about vaccines including needles and blood in their logo design? A logo can be just a good font in a color that matches the style guide! Nowadays, when I design logos for websites, I often do not design an image anymore and forgo the entire logo design process. This is because search engines and screen readers cannot read the text in an image, so they skip the text when browsing a website. This is such a shame. So for one-page websites, or website where I use big gestures, I usually use a very large font for the company name to make it stand [...]


30 questions to improve your website development

Before building a website we advise you to think about why you need a site, who your audience is, and what goals you want to achieve. We developed this website optimizer to help us understand your goals and wishes for your new website and to manage expectations. Please fill out this optimizer for your project and take it to our first meeting! You will receive a copy of this information in your inbox. *we will only use the (personal) information you fill out in this form to write a quote for your offer . We do not share this information with others, see for more information about how we handle your data our privacy statement.


30 questions to improve your e-learning course development

When you are thinking about developing an e-learning course, it’s good practice to think about the purpose, your target audience, and the learning goals before you start. For this purpose we developed the e-learning optimizer that helps you to discover what you need before you start building an online tool. It helps you to define your ideas, and will help us understand you and help you better. So if you can, please fill out this optimizer for your project and take it to our first meeting! If you have no idea about some of the questions, just skip them and we’ll talk about it. Download the optimizer as a PDF


Improve your scientific presentation slide design with 5 simple tricks

We wrote the title with the word ‘slides’. Yes, slides. Because let’s get one thing clear first; the fact that we dislike so many presentations is not because presentations or slides are bad. What’s often wrong is the execution of the presentation. People are very visual, so a combination of a story with images works very well to convey information. A movie works best, but a presentation is the next best thing. As a consequence, there is nothing inherently wrong with PowerPoint or Prezi – besides perhaps the potential of the latter to make you a little motion sick. There is no need to run with the latest gimmick when we can just improve our use of slides. This is easier said than done of course, because even though we all have been working with presentations for decades, this doesn’t make everyone good at using it. Maybe even the other way around (hello lecturer who recently moved on from overhead projectors!). Use your slides as the illustrated background to the story you tell At The Online Scientist, we have been working with professors that wanted to get their message very clear. They asked us to help them do that by giving their slides a make-over. In this blog we want to share some of those tips with you. This is very hands-on, and assumes you have your story crystal clear. If you feel like you need help with your story, it might be better to start with this blog with tips on how to write the story of your presentation. 1 Write conclusions, not descriptions. It’s ‘good practise’ amongst scientists to put the title of a graph on the slide, as if that explains it [...]