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8 Tips to make your health website easier to use

8 Tips to make your health website easier to use






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  • Pew Internet and American Life Project, More than half (52%) of all online inquiries are on behalf of someone other than the person typing in the search terms.Among the 6 in 10e-patients who say their most recent search had an impact on their own health or the way they care for someone else:60% say the information found online affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition. 56% say it changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone they care for. 53% say it lead them to ask a doctor new questions. 49% say it changed the way they think about diet, exercise, or stress management.
  • *Typical search for health information is on behalf of someone else
  • As more health information and services move online, Web developers and health professionals must find new and better ways to communicate health information to the public.
  • More often than not, poorly designed Web sites—more than limited literacy skills—contribute to users' challenges online.
  • Sources: Summers and Summers 2004; Zarcadoolas et al; Eichner and Dullabh
  • Sometimes called Desirability
  • From a 2006 study by Nielsen and LorangerSame study: people spent less than 2 minutes before deciding to abandon a site
  • Next, I’m going to explain some factors that contribute to a font’s readability.Fonts come in many different styles – serif, sans-serif, slab serif, hand-drawn, monospaced, etc. Serif fonts have little “feet” on the ends of the ends of their letters, while sans-serifs are don’t have those strokes. We generally recommend using sans-serif fonts for your body text.In this example, compare Verdana and Georgia. Both are familiar, web safe fonts. While they were both designed for web, Verdana is easier to read, especially at smaller sizes. Even at the same size, Verdana is taller and less condensed. Its letters are wider.However, a lot of research behind choosing serif vs. sans serif fonts is inconclusive. There are a lot studies which argue for one of the other, as well as some that say there isn’t much of a difference. (http://alexpoole.info/which-are-more-legible-serif-or-sans-serif-typefaces/) We’d argue for sans-serifs overall because they tend to render a little more clean on the web and are very familiar to web users. But remember – this is a generalization. It’s entirely possible to choose and display reader-friendlyserif fonts.Readability often depends upon the characteristics of the font itself and how the type is treated, which Molly and I will be going over in this presentation. As long as you pay attention to the following factors, you should be okay. Overall, though, it’s safest to use a sans-serif body font if you’re unsure.
  • Sources: Summers and Summers 2004; Z-Tech Corp for ODPHP 2007(b); ACS Healthcare Solutions for ODPHP 2008; Zarcadoolas et al

8 Tips to make your health website easier to use 8 Tips to make your health website easier to use Presentation Transcript

  • 8 Improving Health Literacy TIPS to make your healthwebsiteEffective Communication through easier to useAna Tellez, MAXanthi Scrimgeour, MHEd, CHESStacy Robison, MPH, CHES
  • CommunicateHealth
  • Agenda+ Overview: Online health information seeking+ Usability + health literacy+ User-centered design+ The 8 tips+ Website check-up
  • We are online+ 80% of adults – 83% White – 71% Black, Non-Hispanic – 71% Hispanic (English- and Spanish-speaking)+ 93% of teenagers – 94% White – 87% Black – 95% Hispanic+ 62% of adults have high-speed broadband connection in their home
  • …looking for health information+ 8 in 10 Internet users (roughly 60% of adults) – Slightly behind using a search engine, email, driving directions, and weather – More than news, online shopping, watching videos, social networking, banking+ 6 in 10 say their most recent search had an impact on their health or the way they care for someone else – 60%: affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition – 56%: changed their overall approach to maintaining their health – 53%: led them to ask a doctor new questions
  • We struggle with complex healthinformation.+ As many as 9 out of 10 American adults have limited health literacy skills.+ The number of older adults using the Internet continues to grow. They are affected by age-related changes in vision, hearing, and cognition.
  • Usability + Health Literacy
  • Users with limited literacy skills are…+ Willing to use the Web to access health information+ Able to accomplish tasks when websites are designed well
  • More often than not, it‟s poorlydesigned Web sites – more thanlimited literacy skills – thatcontribute to users‟ challengesonline.
  • Usability:How well users can learn anduse a website to achieve theirgoals and how satisfied they arewith that process.(function/properties of a website)
  • Usefulness:How well the basicservices, features, and functionsmatch user needs and goals.(rational response to information on a website)
  • Appeal:User‟s subjective, spontaneousfeelings about the website.(emotional response to a website)
  • User-Centered Design
  • The 10 Tips…
  • ① Involve your users.
  • Neighbor Nudge1. Identify your users: Who are they? • Literacy skills • Health status • Experience with the Internet2. Understand their motivations: Why are they here? • Looking for themselves or someone else • How did they get here?
  • User Testing Methods to Try+ Individual interviews+ Focus groups+ Personas and scenarios
  • Focus Groups+ Small group (5-8 people)+ React to designs and ideas+ Group process (react to others‟ opinions)+ Good for quick gauge of users‟ feelings and opinions+ (Not good for testing a final product or website)
  • ② Develop a content strategy.The practice of planning for the creation,delivery, and maintenance of useful,usable content.
  • + First, create quality health content.+ Then take care of it! your awesome content
  • Do you know? Existing content: 1. Who created it? 2. What does it say? 3. Is it useful? 4. How is it maintained? New Content: 1. Who will create it? 2. Who will approve it? 3. Who will put it on the website? 4. Who will update it?
  • ③ Write clearly.
  • Neighbor NudgeChange is hard.Some changes are harder than others. Why are changes/decisions about health so difficult?
  • Create quality health content+ Get to the point. Use plain language. – Use active voice – Avoid jargon; use the language of your audience Plain language is not enough!+ Make it actionable. – Include specific action steps – Give users tools (directions, maps, calculators, printable checklists) – Be positive and motivating
  • Actions at a Glance1. Put the most important info first.2. Describe the health behavior. Just the basics.1. Provide specific action steps.2. Write in plain language.3. Check content for accuracy.
  • Writing for ActionWhich page would be most helpful if yourchild had asthma?① “About asthma”① “Asthma symptoms”② “Prevent asthma attacks at home”
  • Prioritize the Behavior Asthma makes breathing difficult for more than 34✗ million Americans. Asthma in children is on the rise, but with proper✗ treatment for symptoms of asthma, kids and adults can live well. If someone in your family has asthma, start by✓ getting rid of these common causes of attacks: – Mold or dampness – Cockroaches – Secondhand smoke
  • User Testing Methods to Try+ Use card sorting to find out how users rank content by most useful/least useful or most likely to do/least likely to do.+ Build a paper prototype to find out what content users are most likely to “click” on.+ Test user comprehension using content in a paper prototype.
  • ④ De-clutter your site.
  • Web users want to quickly and easily: 1. Understand the health problem or behavior 1. Find out how to take action 27 seconds
  • Nielson Norman GroupTypical F pattern
  • Design for Scanning+ Create a visual hierarchy – Prominent (BIGGER) = important+ Use web conventions – Example: Search in the upper right+ Minimize noise – Clean and readable
  • Users with limited literacy skills areeasily overwhelmed Even content written in plain language can be overwhelming too much text is together in one paragraph or there is not enough white space on the page. Bulleted lists minimize the amount of text on the screen. White space makes text easy to read.
  • Users with limited literacy skills skipinstead of scan + Skip over entire chunks of dense text – > 3 lines of text triggered skipping – Numbers, %, big words triggered skipping + Start clicking on links instead of reading the content Whenever possible, use bulleted lists and short sentences. Limit text to 3 lines.
  • Actions at a Glance1. Limit paragraph size. Use headers, bullets, lists.2. Use familiar font in at least 12 points.3. Use white space and avoid clutter.4. Use images to facilitate learning.5. Use bold colors with contrast.6. Use bold face instead of CAPITALS and italics.+ Keep content in the center of the screen and above the fold.
  • Font StyleConsider sans-serif fonts+ This is Verdana, a sans-serif font+ This is Georgia, a serif font
  • Line Length✗ 20-24 words per line✓ 9-12 words per line
  • ⑤ Start with the Home page.
  • The Home page+ Show your name and logo prominently (upper left corner).+ Consider including a tagline that summarizes what you do.+ Emphasize the highest priority tasks so that users have a clear starting point. (Hint: think back to your 3 main tasks)+ Use consumer-focused language.+ Use visuals and examples to reveal the site‟s content, rather than just describing it.+ Don‟t over-design. Leave plenty of white space.
  • ⑥ Simplify your navigation.
  • Site ID(and tagline) Search Primary Navigation
  • Secondarynavigation Breadcrumbs ‘you are here’ Print, email, share Page Name
  • Easy access to home and menu pagesMake sure the “Back” button works
  • The Trunk Test+ Site ID+ Page Name+ Primary navigation (sections)+ Secondary Navigation+ Search+ You are Here
  • Users with limited literacy skills havedifficulty searching + Avoid searching. + Prefer to browse topics using an alphabetical or topic list (even if the list is long). Include both a search function and other ways to browse content (topic or A-Z list). Be sure to compensate for misspellings in the search box and limit the number of results.
  • Simple Search and Browse
  • ⑦ Organize and label your content.
  • Content Organization: the Basics + Information architecture is the way information is categorized on a Web site. + It typically involves a category structure (taxonomy) and labels. + Good content organization enables users to find information quickly. Tip: Use labels that reflect the language of your users.
  • Using LabelsWhich link will have info on asthma triggers?① Air Pollution & Respiratory Health① Indoor Air Quality① Asthma and Allergies
  • Labeling Links4 rules to follow when using links:1. Make links obvious (underline them)2. Make links long enough to “grab” easily3. Use descriptive link labels4. Limit the number of links on the page
  • If you are HIV-positive, click here for information on how to protect yourpartner(s) so that you don‟t pass the virus on to them. If you arepregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you can help preventpassing HIV to your baby. Learn more.
  • Website Check-up
  • ⑩ Test and tweak often.
  • Paper Prototype Testing Nielson Norman GroupIf you are building a newfeature, start with a paperprototype test. Forum One
  • Usability Testing
  • What is usability testing?+ Conducted 1 on 1+ Watch someone use your website – Ask them to figure out what the site is – Have them use the site to do a typical task+ Have them „think aloud‟+ Note where they get stuck
  • Wisdom of Steve KrugYou are not trying to prove or disproveanything (e.g., label A is better than label B).You are trying to improve your website.
  • 15 studies 750+ users Recruited adults w/ limited literacy skills Best practices in: • Web design • usability • accessibilityhttp://www.health.gov/healthliteracyonline/
  • Thank You!!Contact Information:+ Ana Tellez ana@communicatehealth.com