What Is It, and Why Does It Matter?
Just about anyone can arrange letters and words on a page or a screen to communicate an idea. But not everyone can create high-quality information that actually achieves a desired result.
Information development is a paradigm for transformation – transforming people, organizations, and content.
Information development facilitates success, increasing credibility and engagement by providing people with the information they need to get things done, when and how they need it.
Information development positions organizations as industry leaders, building customer satisfaction, engagement, and trust, as well as employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.
Information development crosses traditional communication barriers and results in content that is easy to find, read, understand, use, and remember, as well as relevant, timely, accurate, and complete.
People produce content all the time, and they often do it without any real knowledge of how to do it. People often mistake the ability to do something with the ability to communicate something. In the modern world, we take literacy for granted. We tend to think that, if we can read and write, we can produce content. And it’s true – just about anyone can arrange letters and words on a page or a screen to communicate an idea. But not everyone can do it well – that is, not everyone can create high-quality information that actually achieves a desired result.
This problem is compounded by the modern education system, which focuses heavily on writing, rather than on effective communication as a whole. In addition, our education systems tend to teach either artisitc self-expression through literary writing, or traditional scientific and academic writing, neither of which facilitate clarity, action, or user success. Despite the fact that most adults in the modern workplace must be proficient at business and technical communication, they are typically only taught as part of specialized fields and curricula.
Information development is about creating content with expert-level knowledge, awareness, and the clear intent to help both individuals and organizations succeed.
With the information-development approach to creating content, you can transform content based on the universal principles of how human beings perceive and process information, rather than on specific and often outdated conventions for communication sub-genres.
Information development is both broader and narrower than traditional content-development approaches. It is broader because it is interdisciplinary and universal – it brings together knowledge and best practices from across fields, genres, and media and is based on the universal principles of how all human beings percieve and process information. It is narrower because its sole focus is on empowering success with information that is usable and verifiable. In other words, information development is not concerned with artistic self-expression, and a measure of success is whether information is relevant, accurate, and complete. Content that is vague, misleading, or purely evocative is outside the realm of information development.
Our motto is “Inform. Delight. Empower.” These three simple words provide a great entry point for a deeper understanding of what information development is and why it matters.
The three pillars of information development are:
Precise and consistent terminology is one of the most important characteristics of information development – it helps us understand what something is and what it is not, which, in turn, provides a foundation for sound reasoning and decision-making in dynamic situations.
information development – the practical application of best practices from across disciplines in the use of information to create and deliver content that facilitates user success
The ultimate goal of information development is to create user-focused, high-quality content using processes that are sustainable, repeatable, and scalable, so that both individuals and organizations are empowered to succeed. The general approach involves taking a pro-active, evidence-based approach, combined with dynamically codifying and standardizing the often delicate and sophisticated priorities, guidelines, and processes involved in developing information that is up-to-date, easy to find, and useful.
Organizations constantly work to balance the needs of users with organizational requirements. Information development uses a codified and integrated approach that synthesizes best practices in writing and design, technical and business communication, project and quality management, and more.
The information-development approach is successful because it focuses on:
Information development is a transformational new paradigm that results in a set of simplified guidelines, processes, and tools for creating high-quality, effective content that helps people succeed. Content consists of three main components: ideas, language, and design. With the information-development approach, it's possible to standardize content creation in ways that improve quality, save money, and result in engaged, satisfied, and loyal users.
Information development gives us a simplified, evidence-based framework for creating content based on:
In the modern world, there is a common misconception that "content" and "design" are separate and somehow opposed to one another. In fact, all content inherently requires and includes design – the term "design" simply refers to the act of arranging things, and "intentional design" refers to the act of arranging things in order to achieve a desired result. In short, design is a form of problem-solving. Because of this, design is an essential skill for InfoDev Pros – indeed, for everyone who creates content.
Nanatoo has developed a science-based approach to design that eliminates the mystery and confusion that often comes with learning design the traditional way. We approach design as a discipline that can be mastered by anyone through a deep understanding of how people percieve and process information and how human perception translates into specific, actionable guidelines.
For example, the InfoDev approach to design provides a simplified, accessible framework for learning the "Basics of Design." The basics of design, which generally consist of learning about "Design Elements" and "Design Principles," provide an essential framework for mastery. Unfortunately, while just about everyone agrees that the basics of design are an essential prerequisite, no one seems to agree on what the design basics are. Some people say there are seven elements and six principles. Some people say there are eight elements and ten principles. Some people even combine the elements and principles together into one big group! It's no wonder that people get overwhelmed when trying to learn design!
It turns out that researchers have found that everything we perceive falls into just one of three categories:
This mini slide show provides an introductory glimpse into the InfoDev approach to Design Basics, with a focus on the Design Elements.
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Citation: Kister, Tina M. 2020. Information Development: What Is It, and Why Does It Matter? Nanatoo Communications, LLC. Accessed . https://www.nanatoo.com/information-development-wp.