Study: Medical Web sites need simpler text

Study: Medical Web sites need simpler text

A survey of 100 Web sites with pediatric information aimed at a lay audience, including nine federal sites, concluded that the text is usually at too high a reading level.

For the typical adult, materials should be written at an eighth-grade level or lower, the authors said. Several readability formulas placed the federal Web sites at a 12th-grade level.

Although Web site creators may worry that visitors will feel talked down to by simpler text, studies have shown that 'adults at all reading levels prefer and learn better with easy-to-read materials,' the authors said.

The study examined one document on each site. It appeared in July's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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