Designing digital health information in a health literacy context

Today, people are increasingly expected to act responsible with respect to their health and to make informed health decisions. To support this, health information is widely available, for example on the Internet. For many people, however, processing health information is difficult due to limited health literacy. To make health information more accessible to this group, health messages need to be optimally designed. Until now, it is unclear how design features of digital health information could be strategically used to optimize health messages. The aim of this dissertation was therefore to investigate the mechanisms that underlie information processing in different health literacy groups and to identify message design features that optimize health communication in people with limited or adequate health literacy. Furthermore, this project investigates whether messages that are designed for people with limited health literacy are counterproductive in adequate health literacy groups or whether such messages might also be effective in this group.

Research team: Corine Meppelink
Prof. Edith Smit & Prof. Julia van Weert (promotores)
Status: Ongoing since September 2012
Funding: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO Graduate Programme)