Lab Manager Year in Review: 2015

January 2015: Usually a quiet month for the Lab Manager team, January was unusually busy for our graphic designers as they completed a redesign of the entire print magazine.

February 2015: The publication of our January/February 2015 issue saw us reveal the new look for the magazine, including a new cover design, as well as new layouts for each section. This issue was the official release of our new “Analytical,” “Life Science,” and “Lab” tools and techniques categories to organize our articles. Online, what turned out to be our most popular webinar of 2015, “Safety in the Laboratory,” ran on Feb. 17 with 900 registrants.

March 2015: This month saw us run our first Pittcon quiz at Pittcon 2015 in New Orleans. Both online participants and trade show attendees competed for the quickest times and highest number of correct answers. While everyone got a T-shirt for participating, daily prizes were awarded to both online and in-show points leaders. In total, 1,480 people took part in the “BIG but not so EASY” quiz.

April 2015: The April issue has been our “Green Labs” issue for the past few years now. Our 2015 green issue, however, included a special focus on the importance of lab fridges and freezers in reducing energy usage, and how university-driven green lab initiatives are leading the way in sustainable labs.

May 2015: Our first virtual conference, “Food for Thought: The Latest Food Safety Tools & Techniques” launched May 13, featuring five talks from experts on the business side of food science, regulatory compliance, analytical testing, food fraud, and GMO testing. It had 529 registrants.

June 2015: This year’s safety issue saw us cover the gap between safety in industrial labs and academic labs, which continues to widen. Author Vince McLeod reviewed recent lab accidents and the lessons lab managers can learn from those incidents to improve their safety programs.

July 2015: Mid-summer saw some small, but critical updates to our homepage go live. We redesigned the look and layout of our Lab News, Featured Articles, Management Tips, Safety Tips, and New Product Spotlight sections for simpler navigation.

August 2015: Like our regular 2015 magazine issues, this year’s Product Resource Guide saw a major overhaul in page layout, moving to a sleeker, cleaner style. It also saw the addition of a new manufacturer’s directory, providing more information than ever on manufacturers in over 70 product categories and subcategories.

September 2015: While our ninth annual Salary and Employee Satisfaction Survey saw many familiar trends and a picture of overall job satisfaction, the results in our September 2015 issue also showed that challenges remain in the lab industry for women and younger researchers.

October 2015: In a change that most of our readers probably missed, we added Industry Pages to our site that organize information on key products, trends, webinars, and news by six main industries: Clinical, Drug Discovery, Environmental, Food and Beverage, Forensics, and Life Science. These pages give readers the option to easily search for information on LabManager.com by industry and we’ll continue to improve them as we go forward.

November 2015: While our social media cover stories of the past focused on the increasing growth of social media use among scientists, our November 2015 issue offered something of a reality check. The article showed that while several key “super-users” have emerged in the scientific community, most scientists on social media are passive “watchers” for whom social media is still a “bit player.”

December 2015: We again improved the user experience on our website with the launch of a new scrolling navigation bar and search function. The new nav bar, featuring a cleaned up menu, eliminates clutter on the site and makes it even easier to find the information you need for your lab. In print, our December 2015 cover story, “Labs Less Ordinary” profiled five labs that buck the stereotype of labs being full of white-coated researchers surrounded by bubbling beakers and complicated lab gadgets. This feature article has inspired a new series that will run in 2016.

Looking ahead

Moving into 2016, there are more great things from Lab Manager on the horizon! We’ll continue to improve the functionality and accessibility of our website, build on our current content, and add more products to help you run your lab as efficiently as possible. Matching our website’s new Industry Pages, our print magazine will feature a new “Industry Insights” section that will focus on labs in the six key industries identified on our website. 2016 will also see a new “Labs Less Ordinary” section, inspired by our December 2015 cover story, that will profile non-traditional labs each month. Later next year, we’ll be adding video to our site to help you make the best buying decision possible when purchasing new lab products and a new industry-focused webinar series, “Industry Insider” will also make its debut.

We hope you find these changes useful in your lab’s success and wish you all the best in the New Year.