But increasingly, they need computational tools like BLAST and MEGA to do their research. Because they consider this a peripheral part of their work, they commonly learn “just enough” to get the job done. This leads to mistakes, the mistakes end up in big databases like NCBI GenBank or the Gene Ontology, and the quality of everyone’s work goes down. In addition, most biologists are only aware of a handful of tools and a few ways to use them. They don’t think “how could software help me”, they think “how do I get this thing to work.”
My goal was to design a new tool that would provide immediate educational payoff to biologists who want to invest a small amount of time into learning about the software, and to encourage and support critical thinking about how the software works under the hood.