Communicating Complex Science

Complex Science

Patients often turn to local patient groups when first diagnosed. Finding out about, and understanding, the often complex science can be very important in the early stages of each patient’s journey. Patient groups are often seen as not only trusted sources, but also able to address the science in ways patients need.

One charity skilled at communicating complex science to its patient community is the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in the USA. Both in terms of design and content, there are some examples of good practice.

1: Make it easy for patients to choose the medium right for them

It can be hard for individuals to find the right level of detail they need, communicated in the way they want. The Foundation groups together on one web page its core media across three simple tabs:

  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Infographics.
2: Link out from each media item for more detail

For example, from each infographic you can click on a ‘learn more’ button to link to more detail on the specific topic displayed. So, from an introductory, overview infographic you can drill down into relevant questions, recent blogs, videos or other content across the site.

3: Work to the strengths of each medium

The Foundation’s site avoids the danger of overload. The infographics are focused, attractive and clear, even when dealing with the complexities of Parkinson’s disease. Many of the videos use whiteboard animation to appear to ‘sketch’ out the science or bring patient stories to life in an engaging way. The feeling is much warmer, and less intimidating than a talking head lecture on the science.

From the video tab, you can link to the Foundation’s:

  • Current series of videos
  • YouTube channels
  • Archived videos, including more than 60 webinars.

Infographic templates make the cost of creation lower, and whiteboard and video-editing software continue to be more easily affordable and used. This is reflected in their more widespread and effective use by patient groups worldwide.


See examples of clear infographics and videos in the media section of the Michael J Fox Foundation…

Click here 

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