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Table 1 Information and Information Architecture Issues and Solutions

From: Evidence-based patient choice: a prostate cancer decision aid in plain language

Concern Solution
Complex information • Organize and structure document for ease of understanding and use, including use of summary tables
  • Create affective appeal using individual vignettes
  • Describe all elements of treatment process patients experience
Engage the reader in the social context • Use pictures captioned with comments from men of varying ethnicities
  • Suggest connection with trusted others and other patients
  • Recognize and address feelings of fear
No mandatory autonomy • Suggest that decisions may be made by the patient or delegated to the doctor, or trusted individual.
  • Suggest shared decision making is compatible with keeping or delegating
Anticipate cultural issues • African Americans are likely to be sensitive to potential to withhold treatment in the name of watchful waiting.
  • African Americans frequently are diagnosed with more severe disease relative to whites.
  • Sources of authoritative advice vary among ethnic groups. These can be acknowledged subtly in text
Translate medical words, but do not eliminate technical information • Define words and include a glossary
Creating/choosing appropriate pictures • Simplify anatomical drawings to include only necessary visual information
  • Include realistic picture of torso, with head included to provide conceptual context
  • Include photographs of men who look serious, but not devastated
Graphic Design and Layout: Use evidence-based document design principles • Spacing to emphasize different points and topic changes
  • Wide margins to make text less dense
  • Adequate page size to keep information on a topic on one page
  • Graphic design that draws the reader through the booklet
  • Text design that keeps related information in close proximity
Plain language • Use conversational words and sentence structure, even if not standard grammar
  • Keep the writing tight. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Keep the tone friendly and personal, speaking directly to the reader.
  • Explain technical language even though it adds words. Assumptions behind technical words must be included
  • Make scientific references available on the website, but do not include in the text