Spectrum 2020 Keynote

Kirk St. AmantThis year’s keynote speaker, Kirk St. Amant, is well-qualified to address the spectrum of technical communication. His talk, “Dynamics of Cognition, Usability, and Design,” will give participants insight into three key areas. In his talk, Kirk examines the psychology of usability in different design contexts.

Design of materials greatly affects how individuals use materials to achieve objectives.

Expectations of usability can influence factors ranging from reactions to page layout to understanding the images that exemplify a process. These factors are connected to cognition, how the mind processes information when identifying and using objects. These factors are also connected to cognitive assumptions of context, or the setting where the materials are used.

Kirk will examine certain cognitive aspects that affect how people perceive, understand, and use informational and instructional materials in various settings. He will also provide strategies for applying cognitive concepts to guide design and research activities to develop effective visuals and usable designs.

Kirk is a popular speaker at the STC Summit, a contributor to STC’s journal and Intercom magazine, a prolific writer of scholarly articles, a collaborator in the STC community, and a teacher. Kirk is a co-manager of STC’s Health and Medicine SIG. His brief, direct, and clear articles written more than 20 years ago for STC’s International Technical Communication SIG are still in use in classrooms and for reference today.

Kirk is a Professor and Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair in Technical Communication and Research Faculty Member with the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science (CBERS) at Louisiana Tech University. Kirk also serves as the Director of Tech’s Usability Studies Research Center and its Health and Medical Communication Research Center. In addition, Kirk is an Adjunct Professor of International Health and Medical Communication with the University of Limerick in Ireland, a Guest Professor of Usability Studies with Southeast University in China, and a Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor of User Experience Design with the University of Strasbourg in France. He researches how cognition affects usability and design with a focus on international health and medical contexts and international online education. Kirk is a Fellow of STC.