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Seniors' distrust of health information on the web: A design problem?


Gary Schwitzer has flagged an interesting paper in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that suggests that adults aged 65 and older are significantly less likely than younger adults to trust health information on the web. What I thought particularly interesting in the paper was that this state of affairs seems to suggest a design problem:

...this association disappeared after accounting for two significant factors: one was confusion due to overwhelming amounts of information, and the other was lack of awareness about the source providing health information found online (a key step to assessing the credibility of a website). These issues could be addressed through websites that incorporate senior-friendly design elements (eg, an uncluttered layout with a large font size and comfortably sized buttons and links) [7,21] and through the promotion of websites that are clearly associated with trustworthy institutions (ie, via credibility cues like images and logos) [22]...

An example of a site that embraces these concepts is the NIH Senior Health website, which presents information from government agencies such as the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging about a multitude of health conditions. The website is tailored to meet the needs of an older, less-experienced Internet user, with a simple design, and options to increase the text size, enhance contrast, and hear the text read aloud [23].

Interaction designers, start your wireframes.

Via Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog
Photo by jcfrog

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