Patient non-adherence to medicines is a major cause of acute hospital admissions that is potentially preventable with targeted patient information. Patient information can be made easier to interpret by use of visuals that are targeted to the informational and perceptual needs of the end-users (Houts,2006). The use of these visuals has been shown to affect health behavior, for example by depicting the benefits of a therapy for the users, which can encourage motivation to adhere.

According to the literature (see for example, Doak, 1996; Katz, 2006; Dowse, 2011), especially lowliterate patients are a vulnerable group for which better targeted information may prove useful. In this paper, a systematic approach to the design and evaluation of icons depicting organs is disclosed. The icons were developed in an iterative process with graphic designers, biomedical, pharmaceutical and communication scientists specialized in visual language. After this process, the icons were presented to future users of such visuals. Using structured interviews, the literacy levels of 191 visitors of a city pharmacy in The Netherlands were determined using Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine -Dutch (REALM-D), after which they were asked to evaluate (1) the level of detail of the depicted organ,(2) the type of background used in that picture, and (3) the type of frame in which the organ was depicted. Results showed that, although there was no significant difference between literate and lowliterate participants in their preference for the level of detail or type of background, low-literate people prefer less, or even no, framing. The authors argue that, since literate and low-literate people differ in perceptual preferences, a more interactive design process including those with low literacy levels as active participants would empower them and enhance the quality of the end product.

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Allowing for differences between low-literates and literates in the design of informative pictures
Preferences for level of detail, type of background, and type of frame of icons depicting organs

Mara van Beusekom   Leiden University Medical Center/Leiden University, Netherlands

Mark Jeroen Wim Bos   The Hague University/Leiden University, Netherlands

Henk-Jan Guchelaar   Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands

Jos van den Broek   Leiden University, Netherlands

Patient non-adherence to medicines is a major cause of acute hospital admissions that is potentially preventable with targeted patient information. Patient information can be made easier to interpret by use of visuals that are targeted to the informational and perceptual needs of the end-users (Houts,2006). The use of these visuals has been shown to affect health behavior, for example by depicting the benefits of a therapy for the users, which can encourage motivation to adhere.

According to the literature (see for example, Doak, 1996; Katz, 2006; Dowse, 2011), especially lowliterate patients are a vulnerable group for which better targeted information may prove useful. In this paper, a systematic approach to the design and evaluation of icons depicting organs is disclosed. The icons were developed in an iterative process with graphic designers, biomedical, pharmaceutical and communication scientists specialized in visual language. After this process, the icons were presented to future users of such visuals. Using structured interviews, the literacy levels of 191 visitors of a city pharmacy in The Netherlands were determined using Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine -Dutch (REALM-D), after which they were asked to evaluate (1) the level of detail of the depicted organ,(2) the type of background used in that picture, and (3) the type of frame in which the organ was depicted. Results showed that, although there was no significant difference between literate and lowliterate participants in their preference for the level of detail or type of background, low-literate people prefer less, or even no, framing. The authors argue that, since literate and low-literate people differ in perceptual preferences, a more interactive design process including those with low literacy levels as active participants would empower them and enhance the quality of the end product.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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