More Americans are going online than ever before.
According to a 2006 survey, 80 percent of Internet users have looked for health
information on the Web.1 As a result,
both public and private institutions are using the Internet to streamline the
delivery of health information and connect people and services in exciting new
Yet the transition to online health information and
services poses a unique set of challenges for Web users with limited literacy
skills or limited experience on the Internet. For many of these users, the Web
is stressful and overwhelmingeven inaccessible. Much of this stress is
the result of complex health content and poorly designed Web sites.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office
of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has written a research-based
how-to guide for creating health Web sites and Web content for the millions of
Americans with limited literacy skills and limited experience using the Web.
The strategies in this guide complement accepted principles of good Web design
and thus have the potential to improve the online experience for all users,
regardless of literacy skills.
This guide is written for Web designers, Web content
specialists, and other public health communication professionals. We offer an
overview of how to:
- Deliver online health information that is actionable
- Create a health Web site that's easy to use,
particularly for people with limited literacy skills and limited experience
using the Web.
- Evaluate and improve your health Web site with