Vote for us!

Illustration of stick figure holding a sign that says "Vote For Us!"

We really hate to do this, but we’re asking for your help. We know, we know — your Facebook and Twitter feeds are already flooded with similar demands. “Like” this, retweet that, gimme money for my poorly-conceived Kickstarter, and so on. But we swear, this is different — a project that anyone committed to health … Continue reading

Frequently Asked Question: How do I punctuate a bulleted list?

1002_doodle

As bulleted list enthusiasts, we often get asked about how to punctuate them. Style guides are all over the place on this issue, but we like to keep it simple (no surprise there). That’s why our answer is: Whenever possible, don’t punctuate bullets in consumer health materials. If you have a list of things or incomplete sentences, … Continue reading

Reduce Inflammation (in Your Writing)

Illustration of patient with red bump on arm, with a doctor saying "Well, it looks like there's a little inflammation..."

Inflammation is a major player in many conditions — from heart disease to twisted ankles to accidentally hammered thumbs. This means it pops up in medical and health writing constantly. But from a health literacy perspective, is such a long, difficult word needed for such a common problem? Usually, the answer is no. Here’s our advice: … Continue reading

Medication Instructions That Stick (but Don’t Adhere)

Illustration of medical instructions that stick

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about medication adherence. It’s understandable, of course. Doctors who prescribe medicine want patients to take it as directed. Patients who are prescribed medicine want to feel better. But following prescriptions, especially multiple daily prescriptions, is hard. So let’s not make it worse by using overly complex language to … Continue reading

How Not to Use Illustrations and Infographics

Illustration of how not to use infographics and illustrations.

In our last installment on bad visuals, we talked about the dangers of relying on crummy stock photos. This time, we’re talking about bad and confusing illustrations — like cartoons, charts, graphs, and everyone’s new favorite, infographics. It’s no wonder that health communicators (including us) love illustrations. Good ones can make your point more elegantly and … Continue reading

Rethinking Readability Scores: Part 2

Illustration of Rethinking Readability Scores

We’ve written about the controversial topic of problems with readability formulas — and we’re back to further explain our position. Readability formulas give you a rough idea of how easy a material is to understand, but they’re imprecise and often inaccurate. Nearly everyone agrees on their limitations, yet many agencies and organizations require materials to meet a certain … Continue reading