Print: Section 5.1

Engage Users

5.1 Share information through multimedia.

Whenever possible, provide health information in multiple formats—for example, audio, video, interactive graphics, quizzes, or slideshows. Multimedia can improve both learning and engagement, particularly for users with limited literacy skills.82,83

Choose media that support your content.

Before you decide on which formats to use, think about the information you’re trying to communicate. Each type of media fosters learning in its own way.

For example, consider:

  • Visuals to show spatial information (like maps)
  • Text to communicate information you want users to remember in the long term
  • Sound to convey information you want users to remember in the short term82

Make sure each piece of media you use supports the text—using media only as decoration will distract your users.83

Make media accessible.

When using audio or video, be sure to include a text alternative or transcript, so the content is accessible to all users.84,85,86

Figure 5.1

NIH SeniorHealth offers short video clips on popular health topics. Each video includes a transcript and a help tool.

Screenshot of video list


If you’re posting videos on a dedicated YouTube channel, use the closed captioning options available. You can find details in these instructions from YouTube.

Consider quizzes.

Use quizzes to encourage active learning. Limited-literacy users like quizzes and tend to complete them. After each question, give users helpful feedback.82

Figure 5.2

In usability testing, many participants with limited literacy skills completed a parenting quiz on the website and reported liking it. After answering each question, users get information explaining why their response was right or wrong.

Screenshot of parenting quiz about the first year of life


Try this

Look through your website’s content and ask yourself if any of it can be repurposed as a quiz. Quizzes are especially popular with limited-literacy users.