Monday, June 18, 2007

Health web users are not dummies

whiz kid
Who reads my stuff? And does she or he get my message? Like all serious bloggers I constantly have this in mind when I am writing and overhauling my drafts. In my opinion, underrating of your readers is the worst thing you can do as a blogger. Of course I am trying to break down to a lay-person level what I find in medical journals. But the facts are holy. I may take some complications out but never fall below certain limits. I always have a scientist in mind who peers over my shoulder. Thus, reading my stuff is not always easy.

In every post I link to sources that often demand an university degree. This holds not only for my PubMed links but also for many Wikipedia links. So every reader has his own choice of level: He may click or he may not.

To my pleasure, my view has been supported by a recent study about consumers' ability to comprehend health information. It came out that consumers do not prefer online health information written on a lower grade reading level. Such a low level does neither improve the perceived trustworthiness nor truthfulness nor completeness of the given information. And, to my surprise, it does not improve the readability either.

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