Involve users throughout the production process, using co-production approaches where appropriate

Community activityUser involvement is a vital element to ensure the health information you develop is useful to, and provides effective support for, your audience. Specifically it will help you ensure your information is:

  • Accessible to the audience it is aimed at
  • Clear and easy to understand
  • Enables users to act upon the information appropriately

User involvement is not a single exercise, but many steps along your journey to create health information that works.

Co-production recognises users as experts in their own circumstances and needs. It is an approach to developing services that involves individuals, communities, and the professionals who support them, working together and sharing their expertise to deliver more effective and sustainable outcomes. In a co-production scenario, service-users and their communities are involved in defining the need or problem, designing the solution, delivering it, and evaluating it.

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

  • Public engagement: a practical guide

    This is a practical guide on involving the public in working out how to communicate research findings.

  • Health literacy toolkit

    Guide sharing practical tools and techniques for communicating with and supporting people with low levels of health literacy. Includes sections on spoken and written communication, using images, and the design and layout of information.

  • Methods for involving users: an introduction

    This resource provides an introduction to the most common methods for involving users: focus groups, online surveys, individual interviews and informal feedback.

  • Service user involvement in the delivery of mental health services

    Includes a ‘service user leadership spectrum’ to measure how well organisations involve users.

  • Experience-based co-design toolkit

    As well as step-by-step guidance to experience-based co-design (EBCD), the toolkit includes videos of people who have taken part in EBCD projects.

  • Ten Tips for Co-production

    A one page profile of co-production including ten top tips for its effective implementation.

  • Guide to Producing Health Information for Children and Young People

    This resource aims to help anyone who communicates with children and young people about their health improve what they do, and shares practical advice as well as examples of current best practice in the field.

  • Health literacy and health inequalities

    A paper looking at the relationship between health inequality and health literacy, including a focus on specific groups: older people, children and young people, people with a long term condition, people with a mental health problem, people with learning disabilities, people in minority ethnic groups.

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How have others done this?

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Annie talks about what makes information work for her