Show the impacts of research with pictures and storytelling

This week, I am writing about using interactive websites to share research results, in particular, a webpage created by Blue Ventures, a marine-focused conservation organization working in Belize, Madagascar and Malaysia. Blue Ventures recently published a paper that demonstrates the benefits fishing communities in Madagascar can gain from temporarily closing their octopus fishing sites, and Blue Ventures chose to use visual storytelling to highlight the results.

Viewed best on a desktop but still stunning on a tablet or phone, the interactive website opens with a gif that leads the viewer from under the water to above the surface. As you scroll down the page, you are presented with stunning, carefully chosen images that tell the story of the villagers’ lives and what octopus fishing means to them.

Clear, simple infographics emphasize key facts and findings such as the average increase in village income from octopus farming after a closure. The infographics demonstrate the impacts of managing marine resources with temporary bans on fishing and highlights the benefits local people have gained. In essence, the research has shown that marine management can pay.

The webpage is simple yet effective and ends with the option to view more photos and read the full story of what marine management means to people like Velvetine, an old lady for whom octopus gleaning is the only way to earn money. You can also download an infographic with all the findings and if you want to know the full methodology and analysis, there is a link to the open source, freely available paper.

Blue Venture’s interactive website is an excellent example of how to communicate science in an engaging way and I hope others will adopt this method of disseminating research to a wider audience.

View the webpage here:

Octopus cyanea pictured in the Maldives
Octopus cyanea pictured in the Maldives. Photo by Ahmed Abdul Rahman. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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