Who We Are

Our Mission

Founded in 1990 by Dr. Karen Schriver, KSA Communication Design & Research has earned an international reputation for plain language and information design. Our mission? To be a catalyst for building effective bridges between organizations and the people they want to reach.

Truth. Accuracy. Empathy. Inclusiveness.
These values drive our work.

Many firms offer writing and design services. What makes KSA unique is our evidence-based approach to communication design
using research to enhance practice.

About Karen Schriver, PhD
President & Creative Director

Karen’s guiding philosophy is simple: “It’s all about your readers.” For several decades, Karen has helped organizations listen more carefully to the people they communicate with – audiences, stakeholders, users, consumers, or citizens. Karen figures out what visual and verbal content works for readers and why.

Cognition, emotion, and culture are crucial. By investigating how people react to your words and images, Karen gains insight into how they interpret your messages, your brand, your story.

Practical and results-oriented, Karen has a knack for making content easy to use. She’s led communication design projects for organizations in technology, healthcare, government, and education. She’s explored the needs of experts and non-experts, good readers and poor readers, teenagers and the elderly.

Karen excels in applying creativity and design thinking. She likes the challenge of designing for people who are skeptical, suspicious, or downright cranky.

Karen wrote one of the first books on document design. It’s been called a classic. She’s also won 14 national and international awards for her research. The Society for Technical Communication named her as a “legend in technical communication.”

In addition to her extensive experience as a consultant and researcher, Karen is well known for teaching and public speaking. Before founding KSA, she was a popular professor of rhetoric and document design at Carnegie Mellon University.

Since then, she’s inspired both students and business professionals in Canada, Belgium, Brazil, France, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, UK, and across the US.

Karen is a leading voice in the plain language and information design communities. She has served on the board of the Center for Plain Language (Washington, DC). She is a US representative to the International Plain Language Federation, which is working to develop international standards for plain language.

Karen proudly hails from the friendly city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When she’s not running to catch a plane, Karen can be found strolling the town with her Goldendoodle, Juno. Her nickname is Wren and you can catch her on Twitter @firstwren.