Print: Section 6.3

Test Your Site with Users with Limited Literacy Skills

6.3 Create plain language testing materials.

Write your screeners, consent forms, and moderator guides in plain language. Find sample testing documents on

Limit the number of tasks and questions when conducting usability testing with users with limited literacy skills. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in each session. Make sure the most critical tasks are early in your protocol—it’s best to keep the session brief.

Users with limited literacy skills can have difficulty understanding consent forms—you’ll often find that they’ll sign without reading the form.101 In addition to providing easy-to-read consent documents, consider using a consent process that doesn’t rely on participants’ health literacy skills or English proficiency. You can:

  • Review consent forms verbally3
  • Ask participants to initial each thing they consent to—for example, written notes, having the screen recorded, or being videotaped

See the Informed Consent and Authorization Toolkit for Minimal Risk Research [PDF – 300 KB] from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for more information.102