262149 NIDA's “Easy-to-Read Drug Facts” website: Reaching low-literacy audiences online

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Donna Messersmith, PhD , Palladian Partners, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Heather Pierce, MPH , Palladian Partners, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Sheila Walsh , Palladian Partners, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Bethany Hoffman , Palladian Partners, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Beth Maloney , Palladian Partners, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Carol Krause, M.A. , National Institute on Drug Abuse, Rockville, MD
Cathrine Sasek, PhD , National Institute on Drug Abuse, Rockville, MD
Issues: A great deal of information regarding drug abuse prevention and treatment is available through the internet and other sources. However, adults with low literacy may not understand the information. In order to meet the needs of low-literacy adults, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.gov), through a contract to Palladian Partners, Inc. (palladianpartners.com), created a new website titled “Easy-to-Read Drug Facts” (easyread.drugabuse.gov). Description: To provide a thorough foundation on which to build the website, a literature review, usability tests, and interviews with adults with low-literacy, adult education professionals, and addiction health providers were completed. Lessons Learned: Our research resulted in the creation of the following features in the website: the homepage is simple with navigation limited to a brief menu of website sections; there is a guided navigation path through the website; explanations of concepts include simple but accurate word choices; layout and design is crisp and clear; narrated videos illustrate how drugs affect the brain; all pages can be read aloud by a user-friendly computerized voice; website users can select which section of a page is to be read. Recommendations: A formative research phase preceding the creation of the website resulted in a thorough understanding of the needs of this low-literacy audience. The product, an engaging and accessible website with valuable information on drug abuse prevention and treatment, proved to be an effective and informative resource for the target audience in follow-up usability testing and analysis.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Identify formative research approaches to create a website for low-literacy adults. Design online educational resources on drug abuse and prevention that meet specific needs of the target audience.

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have assisted in the development of the NIDA website on drug abuse and prevention for low-literacy adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.