Blog image ReadabilityAll of our organizations are shifting toward digital communication. They’re reducing face-to-face contact, calls and printed material.
Why? An obvious reason is that digital reduces cost. For some government services, the average cost of a digital transaction is 5 percent of the cost of a telephone transaction, 3 percent of the cost of a postal transaction, and 2 percent of the cost of a face-to-face transaction.
Another holiday season has passed, along with the requisite schmoozing at parties. I tend to be more of a listener than a talker. But if I’m asked, I do admit that I’m an editor and a proponent of plain language.
If most of the people you’re trying to communicate with aren’t responding in the way you intended, there’s a good chance that the problem is YOU.
People from all income and education levels are intimidated by poorly designed and ill-conceived forms and notices. In many other projects that we’ve undertaken over the years — from simplifying bankruptcy forms to tax forms, school enrollment forms, credit card statements, insurance applications, and program-related forms — the findings are consistent. The organizations may be different, but the problems remain the same.
When your doctor prescribes a medication for your child, do you know what the correct dosage is or how to measure it?
Are you comfortable asking your doctor questions when you receive a lab report and don’t understand the results?
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you might have high health literacy, says Jodi Duckhorn, a social scientist and Director of Risk Communications at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Duckhorn’s team is responsible for making sure that messages FDA sends out are understandable to their intended target audiences—a key component of health literacy.