Karen Schriver PhD is President of KSA Communication Design and Research—a Pittsburgh-based consultancy focused on making information clear, compelling, and usable. She helps organizations draw on the latest empirical research so they can write and design more effective people-centered communications. She is a former professor of rhetoric and information design at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Schriver’s book, Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers has been called a landmark in its field. Winner of fourteen international and national awards for her work, Dr. Schriver is writing a new book about ways to reach busy readers through evidence-based information design and plain language.
In this podcast, Dr. Karen Schriver talks with Helen Osborne about:
- Plain language. Includes not only simpler words but also sentence structure, design, and many other ways to help readers find, understand, and use information.
- Reluctance and skepticism about plain language (sometimes expressed as concerns about “dumbing down”) from writers and subject-matter experts.
- Examples and strategies to make a compelling case for using plain language (or, as Helen sometimes calls this approach, “smartening up”).
More Ways to Learn:
- “Plain Language in the US Gains Momentum: 1940-2015,” by Karen Schriver. Published in IEEE Transactions of Personal Communication, Volume 60, Issue 4. Abstract available at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8115322/
- Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers, by Karen Schriver.
- “Using Design to Get Readers to Read and Keep Reading,” Health Literacy Out Loud podcast interview with Karen Schriver. Audio and transcript available at /2009/12/07/hlol-29-using-design-to-get-readers-to-read-and-keep-reading/
- “Feeding the information eaters: Suggestions for integrating pure and applied research on language comprehension,” by Patricia Wright. Published in Instructions Science, 1978. Abstract available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00120935
- Art of Plain Talk, by Rudolf Flesch, published in 1962. Available at https://www.amazon.com/Art-Plain-Talk-rudolf-flesch/dp/0020463804
- “Making a Business Case for Plain Language,” Health Literacy Out Loud podcast interview with Joseph Kimble. Audio and transcript available at /2012/09/18/health-literacy-out-loud-84-making-a-business-case-for-plain-language/
For more information, contact Dr. Schriver at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 21, 28.