Present information in small chunks. Try to explore only one area in each ‘paragraph’ and stick to one idea in a sentence

jigsawFor written information, long paragraphs can look daunting. Use headings and paragraph breaks to divide your information up. White space on a ‘page’ makes information easier to read.

Order your information logically. Bulleted or numbered points help break down complicated information, and assist patients to digest it. A question and answer format  can help you to divide up your information.

Why is this important?

Participants questioned whether it was necessary to have such a long and complex booklet to inform people about the screening programme: ‘This is an awful lot for people to read, this is just handed out? Hell of a lot to read isn't it?’'

Smith, S. G., Vart, G., Wolf, M. S., Obichere, A., Baker, H. J., Raine, R., Wardle, J. and von Wagner, C. , How do people interpret information about colorectal cancer screening: observations from a think-aloud study. (2013.) doi: 10.1111/hex.12117.. Health Expectations.
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Resources to support you

  • Health Literacy Online: A Guide to Writing and Designing Easy-to-Use Health Web Sites

    This guide includes an introduction to user centred design, understanding users, writing actionable content, displaying content clearly and making your site interactive.

  • How to write medical information in plain English

    This guide gives applies the plain English approach to medical information. It includes examples and a glossary. It also covers design and layout.

  • NHS Brand Guidelines

    Resources and templates to support the creation of patient information. Includes guidance on written information, layout, planning and communication with different groups, and signposting to further sources of information.

  • How to write in plain English

    This guide covers the basics of how to write more clearly with examples and a glossary of words to avoid.

  • Readability

    This guide covers design and layout, areas such as the use of white space, appropriate font choice and sentence length. It also contains a readability test that aims to help determine how accessible text is to a disadvantaged reader.

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How have others done this?

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Francine talks about the importance of easy to understand information