Building support for science
The National Science Foundation is responsible for funding roughly one-quarter of all federally funded basic research – that is, scientific research aimed at better understanding our world and universe. The practical results of this research can take years or decades to be manifest, and is hard to quantify even then. This leaves a gap for skepticism about the value of such research to arise, both among the population in general, and in Congress. On this project, we explored how the value of scientific research is communicated and what content processes and technologies could best help the agency not just to support research financially, but also to better tell the stories of the importance of the value of basic research.
We conducted workshops with the agency to develop a shared vision for the project and identify user groups that were critical to reach, planned, recruited and conducted user research with these groups. Based on that research, we then built lightweight prototypes to test with both external users and those involved in developing content at NSF. This research and prototyping helped the agency quickly and rigorously make a major technology platform decision, and act on it.