Redesigned Science NetLinks Wins Three Interactive Media Awards

Science NetLinks, the Web’s premier science education resource, has earned the Interactive Media Awards’ Best in Class designation in the education, nonprofit, and science/technology categories.

Anna Lawrence, spokesperson for the Interactive Media Awards, explained that Science NetLinks was entered in the competition under the science/technology category. “The judges were so impressed that they gave it an award under the nonprofit and education categories as well,” she said. “To win three awards for one entry is very rare and is just a testament to the quality and professionalism of this work.”

Science NetLinks is produced by AAAS and is part of Thinkfinity, a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 10 premier educational organizations including AAAS. The innovative Web site provides free resources, interactive features, podcasts, and hands-on activities for K-12 teachers, students, and families.

It received the awards soon after a redesign which put increased emphasis on tying science to current events and news. Science NetLinks staff worked with the Web design agency Blenderbox for 10 months to implement the new look after surveying users to determine what they would like to see in a redesigned website.

“The Science NetLinks team worked closely with Blenderbox to convey current Web site challenges and desired outcomes,” said Suzanne Thurston, Science NetLinks manager. “A thorough inventory of the content and thoughtful input from Science NetLinks team resulted in an effective and engaging design from Blenderbox.”

The Science NetLinks team “knows their content inside and out, and worked hand-in-hand with us to develop a solid content strategy for the site,” said Jason Jeffries, chief executive officer of Blenderbox. “We’re thrilled to see the team’s work recognized.”

The Best in Class Award is the highest honor given by the Interactive Media Awards. In the 2011 contest year, 6 of the 203 entries submitted under the nonprofit category were designated “Best in Class,” as well as 15 of the 145 entries in the education category, and 4 of the 77 entries in the science/technology category.

Judges give Web sites scores ranging from 0 to 100 points in five areas: design, content, feature functionality, usability, and standards compliance/cross-browser compatibility. Web sites that earn an overall score between 480 and 500 points receive the Best in Class Award. Science NetLinks earned a score of 489 points, including perfect scores for content and feature functionality.

The Interactive Media Awards were created by the Interactive Media Council, Inc., a nonprofit organization of Web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers, and additional Web professionals. The awards were designed to improve the standards of excellence on the Internet and offer winners both marketing and exposure opportunities. Judges come from companies including American Express, Cadbury Schweppes, CNNMoney.com, Comedy Central On-Air Creative, Deutsche Bank Asset Management, Food Network, Hill & Knowlton, Microsoft Corporation, and Time Warner Inc.

“For the past 15 years, Science NetLinks has been a leader in providing free, online resources to science educators,” said Bob Hirshon, a AAAS senior project director who worked with Thurston on the site’s redesign. “With the redesign, Suzanne and her team have taken it to a new level, with daily science news content, a vibrant science education online community, and new tools to make resources easier to find. Teachers will want to visit the site every day.”

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