Cal Poly and NASA/JPL Continue to Partner in Building a Model for Effective Website Communication

The NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech came to the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly for a workshop on March 2-3, 2016, for assistance in optimizing the effectiveness of its website development practices for communicating scientific, technical, and educational outreach information internally, nationally, and around the world. This workshop was the second installation of training to establish a set of best practices for project management, customer service, and web development technologies.

Headed by Mr. Sunjay Moorthy, Manager, Graphics Services, and Installation Printing Management Officer at the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, JPL put together an initiative to make sure that its website communication services are second to none worldwide in conveying scientific, technical and educational outreach information. Moorthy, a long-time JPL communication leader, was the brainchild behind this initiative.

To achieve the stated goal, Moorthy initiated a dialogue with the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly (GrCI)—an exchange that has since resulted in an ongoing collaboration between the two institutions. The initial set of conversations resulted in a technical audit conducted by the GrCI of JPL's website procedures related to design, applications, methods, processes, technologies, and personnel.

The audit included one-on-one interviews, touring facilities, and documenting work activities in all Graphics functional areas. While all functional areas of the Graphics Services Group were reviewed, the audit focused on website development, including workflow, methods, techniques, processes, software, equipment, and personnel of Electronic Publishing Services (EPS), which is the website development team in Graphics. The purpose of the audit was to identify areas for improvement in EPS processes, tools and methods and to recommend training actions.

An important part of the JPL Graphics Services Group mission is to advance the art of scientific and technical communication to other departments within the larger JPL organization. This is done through concise detail including data and facts as well as storytelling. The data, facts, and stories connect business, science, education, and research professionals within JPL offices and around the world to help create a common understanding of our planet, the universe at large, and the tools NASA/JPL is building to reveal the "mysteries" of our universe. The group uses art, photography, video, and text to illustrate and communicate. Their combination of design expertise and technical proficiency has established Graphics as the ideal partner for providing technical and scientific information and for telling customers' stories.

The EPS training program is an important step in the continuing collaboration being fostered between an institution of higher education that prepares students for careers in communication (Cal Poly's Graphic Communication program) and an organization for research and development (JPL Graphics) that is looking for the next generation of talent in that field.

To read more about the GrCI and JPL collaboration click here

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