I have big dreams of a world in which it’s a standard part of our education system to teach people how to communicate effectively through content – by honing skills in both writing and design, by realizing we’re all both technical and creative, and by focusing on how to create usable content that is both informative and persuasive.
Tina M. Kister
Communication for Success
I love to help people be successful.
Being able to convey complex ideas that people can actually understand and use is empowering and transformative. It’s like a really nerdy superpower.
Hi! My name is Tina M. Kister, and I’m the creator of Science-Based Content Design.© I’m also the founder of the InfoDev Academy and its parent company, Nanatoo Communications.
For years, I’ve watched my fellow information developers – people who create technical, instructional and other high-value business content – struggle to do their jobs well in a world that doesn’t grasp the unique challenges that information developers face, nor the critical role that they play in business success.
Many organizations continue to take an outdated, siloed approach that has little to do with the modern era of online communications. Despite the fact that content-based communications are essential in all fields, genres, and media, both education and operations continue to revolve around specialized skills and subject areas, and fail to empower people to create effective content that includes both writing and design, as well as both technical and creative components.
While there are boundless resources for creating content that is literary, artistic, or sales-oriented, there are relatively few resources for creating usable, fact-based business content that incorporates best practices in writing, visual design, usability, quality and project management, streamlined operations, and a deep understanding of how human beings perceive and process information.
The InfoDev Academy synthesizes best practices from across many different specialized areas of information development, as well as sciences, the arts, engineering, and more, to create a new paradigm for success – one that results in content that truly meets the needs of our users, our organizations, and ourselves.
In 2021, I had the honor of working with Scott Abel (The Content Wrangler) as co-editor of a special issue of Intercom Magazine dedicated entirely to Science-Based Content Design. Intercom magazine is a publication of the Society for Technical Communication.
Because of this project, I was able to work directly with several authors who have influenced my work on the Science-Based Content Design methodology, including Jeff Johnson (author of Designing with the Mind in Mind), Riccardo Mazza (author of Introduction to Information Visualization), and Noam Tractinsky (author of several peer-reviewed scientific publications on human-computer interaction). We also implemented a new design in the magazine itself, thanks to the support of Intercom’s editor Alisa Bonsignore (founder of Clarifying Complex Ideas).
Because of my non-traditional career path, I’ve had incredible opportunities to learn and grow, which is the source of my passion for taking an interdisciplinary approach. I’ve had the pleasure of working with organizations such as the US Geological Survey, Lockheed Martin, TechSmith, Precision Content, and more.
I have formally studied both fine art and communications, and have taken graduate courses in technical communication, web design, and online communications. I worked for several years as a professional artist and furniture maker before returning to school for a degree in Communications. After getting my degree, I worked with several scientists in the southwestern US to help them communicate the methods, findings, and value of their scientific research.
My work experience includes:
- Account Management
- Content Management
- Curriculum Development
- Grant Writing
- Instructional Design
- Interaction Design
- News Writing
- Presentation Design
- Process Analysis and Documentation
- Project Management
- Proposal Management
- Proposal Writing
- Quality Assurance
- Reference Management
- Sales and Marketing
- Science Communications
- Technical Documentation (Product)
- Technical Editing
- Technical Report Writing
- Technical Writing
- Template Design
- Training Design
- Visual Design
- Website Development and Design
Industries I’ve worked in include:
- Business Communications
- Business Development
- Corporate Training
- Department of Defense
- Emergency Communications
- Fine Art
- Health Care (Telehealth)
- Health Care Technology
- Instructional Design
- Law Enforcement
- Natural Sciences
- Professional Development
- Small Business
- Visual Design
I have certifications in technical communication (CPTC), project management (PMP), proposal management (APMP), and content strategy.
In 2016, I published an article in Technical Communication (the academic journal published by the Society for Technical Communication) to advance the way that content professionals manage content projects.
Improving the Information Development Process: A Refined Iterative Development Model discusses development models in general, and provides a new model that explicitly accounts for stages of planning, refinement, and delivery. The purpose of the model is to make it easier to develop healthy and realistic processes and to communicate those processes more effectively within an organization.
– Sam Dragga, Editor-in-Chief, Technical Communication