Writing for the web is different than writing for print. Most web users—including those with limited literacy skills—are looking for specific information or an answer to a question.24 They typically don’t stay very long on a page. In fact, the average time spent on a page is usually 15 seconds or less.24,25,26
When it comes to health information, web users want to quickly and easily do 2 things:
- Understand the health problem or behavior
- Find out how to take action—in other words, what they can do to change their behavior or address the problem27,28,29
- Brief and to the point
- Actionable and engaging
When you write actionable content, it means that you’re focusing on health behavior: tell users what you want them to do and give them steps to do it.
Engaging users means presenting content in a way that motivates them to take action. Examples of engaging content include:
- Interactive tools
- Conversation tools
High levels of engagement with online health information can lead to health behavior change.31
Remember, plain language alone is not enough. If you want users to adopt healthy behaviors, you also need to write actionable health content.