Online Program

Improving online health information for low-literacy and mobile device website visitors

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Amanda Kraiger, MHS, Sapient, Arlington, VA
William Bennett, Sapient, Arlington, VA
Lisa Seaman, MBA, Sapient, Washington, DC
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health, provides health information seekers with thousands of web pages on more than 100 diseases and conditions. NIDDK currently maintains 11 websites, including the main site (, clearinghouse, educational campaign, and program sites. Determining how to improve the online experience for the 25 million annual visitors to these web pages is a challenge. NIDDK is re-architecting the way it presents health information to meet the needs of audiences with varying literacy levels and improving the experience for mobile visitors.

To maximize accessibility and impact of its health content, NIDDK is integrating program-level sites into NIDDK used website data, Google analytics, and publication data to determine which content to improve and integrate first. A team developed and tested wireframes with the general public. Information architecture improvements include new landing pages and content organized the way people search for health information.

NIDDK also improved the content itself for certain health topics. This involved creating “bites” of content, which together form a “snack.” The in-depth “meal” content was rewritten using plain language and web writing best practices. For the initial pilot, 12 topics were improved.

In the first month of tracking, page views per visit to the improved topics increased by 90%. Analytics show promise for the new health information pages, where people are navigating as intended. NIDDK is in the process of integrating its other websites and making additional navigation and content improvements.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify ways to make health information easier to read and navigate for low literacy audiences and mobile device viewers Describe the bite, snack, meal approach to web writing Explain criteria that can be used to determine which content is most popular to set priorities and improve website information architecture

Keyword(s): Health Literacy, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have seven years of experience developing communication strategies for federal health information and serve as the content strategist for this effort. I worked closely with an information architect to conduct content analysis, usability testing, and creation of new web pages. I also managed the writing and editing of the improved content topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Sapient Government Services N/A Consultant

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.