January 2011

Homepages – how you can benefit from a digital presence

Secondary levels should be customized to cover the scope of your research and should include links to things like projects, publications, people and external resources. A well-designed website allows the viewer to quickly open each layer while easily returning to the main page. As in all forms of communication, keep your audience in mind. A large list of accomplishments is impressive, but information about what you currently are doing is much more useful.

Do you know of a particularly good researcher homepage? Share it in the online comment section below.

Don’t forget the internet is a visual landscape. A clean, simple design will prevent the viewer from being overwhelmed. Fonts should be large and easy to read. Images are essential. Cartoons and figures help explain your work. Photographs of the people involved in the research give a personal touch and are useful for identifying someone at a conference.

Establishing a web presence requires an investment of resources, including time and money. If done well, a homepage can bind the chapters of your research into a comprehensive novel. A website enables you to present your work to a wider audience and can raise your profile within your community. Once you fully utilize the internet as an additional tool to communicate your work, you will reap the benefits of the electronic information age by attracting the attention of the broader scientific community.

Nancy Van Prooyen (nancy.vanprooyen@ucsf.edu) is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco.

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