dunn-howwellarehealth-2017.pdf (309.71 kB)
How well are health information websites displayed on mobile phones? implications for the readability of health information
journal contributionposted on 2017-04-01, 00:00 authored by Christina Chi Yan Cheng, Matthew DunnMatthew Dunn
Issue addressed: More than 87% of Australians own a mobile phone with Internet access and 82% of phone owners use their smartphones to search for health information, indicating that mobile phones may be a powerful tool for building health literacy. Yet, online health information has been found to be above the reading ability of the general population. As reading on a smaller screen may further complicate the readability of information, this study aimed to examine how health information is displayed on mobile phones and its implications for readability. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design with convenience sampling, a sample of 270 mobile webpages with information on 12 common health conditions was generated for analysis, they were categorised based on design and position of information display. Results: The results showed that 71.48% of webpages were mobile-friendly but only 15.93% were mobile-friendly webpages designed in a way to optimise readability, with a paging format and queried information displayed for immediate viewing. Conclusion: With inadequate evidence and lack of consensus on how webpage design can best promote reading and comprehension, it is difficult to draw a conclusion on the effect of current mobile health information presentation on readability. So what? Building mobile-responsive websites should be a priority for health information providers and policy-makers. Research efforts are urgently required to identify how best to enhance readability of mobile health information and fully capture the capabilities of mobile phones as a useful device to increase health literacy.