Print: Section 2.3

Write Actionable Content

2.3 Describe the health behavior—just the basics.

Start by introducing the behavioral objective. Users want actionable and specific behavioral guidance.28,38,39,40 In other words, tell users both what to do and how to do it. Focus on behavior rather than background information and statistics. Remember, it’s important not to overwhelm your users.

Think “need to know” vs. “nice to know.”

Health information doesn’t need to be comprehensive. Instead, usability research has shown that many users prefer to learn “just the basics” about a health topic.30 What do your users need to know to take action? Keep your information direct and to the point. People who are motivated to find more information will dig further.26

Quote

“Just tell me what I need to know.”

Example
Before:
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure should be checked often.
After:
Check your blood pressure every 2 years, especially if you are age 40 or older.
Figure 2.2

The first sentence on this page from healthfinder.gov includes the behavioral recommendation (regular screenings for people ages 50 to 75).

Screen shot of healthfinder.gov 'Get Tested for Colorectal Cancer' topic

Source: http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/doctor-visits/screening-tests/get-tested-for-colorectal-cancer

Quote

“I like this website because it gives you the information you want right away. It gives you the basics, not too much to read.”