Guidance and Standards
The following guidance and standards can help you make your health information accurate, accessible, and actionable.
Clear Communication Guidance
- Simply Put: A Guide for Creating Easy-to-Understand Materials [PDF - 1.87MB]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The guidance in Simply Put helps you transform complicated scientific and technical information into communication materials your audiences can relate to and understand. The guide provides practical ways to organize information and use language and visuals. This guide will be useful for creating fact sheets, FAQ's, brochures, booklets, pamphlets, and other materials, including web content.
- Clear Communication: An NIH Health Literacy Initiative
National Institutes of Health
NIH has established the Clear Communication initiative that focuses on achieving two key objectives of health literacy: Providing information in the form and with the content that is accessible to specific audiences based on cultural competence, and incorporating plain language approaches and new technologies.
- Plain Language.gov – Improving Communication from the Federal Government to the Public
The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is a group of federal employees whose goal is to promote the use of plain language for all government communications by offering limited editing services to all federal agencies, sponsoring occasional seminars about plain language, comment on agency documents, especially regulations and offering a short half day introduction to plain language and writing for the web free of charge to any federal agency.
- Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
The Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective is a health literacy resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This 11-part Toolkit provides a detailed and comprehensive set of tools to help you make written material in printed formats easier for people to read, understand, and use.
Web Communication Guidance
- Health Literacy Online Guide
Department of Health and Human Services
This guide is written for web designers, content specialists, and other public health communication professionals. The guide offers an overview of how to deliver online health information that is actionable and engaging, create a health web site that's easy to use, particularly for people with limited literacy skills and limited experience using the web, and evaluate and improve your health Web site with user-centered design.
Department of Health and Human Services
Usability.gov is a one-stop source for government web designers to learn how to make websites more usable, useful, and accessible. The site addresses a broad range of factors that go into web design and development. The site will help you to: Plan and design usable sites by collecting data on what users need, develop prototypes, conduct usability tests and write up results, and measure trends and demographics.
Health Education Tools
- National Health Education Standards
The Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards
The National Health Education Standards (NHES) are written expectations for what students should know and be able to do by grades 2, 5, 8, and 12 to promote personal, family, and community health. The standards provide a framework for curriculum development and selection, instruction, and student assessment in health education.
- CDC's Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool
The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) can help school districts, schools, and others conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and CDC's Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula. The HECAT results can help schools select or develop appropriate and effective health education curricula and improve the delivery of health education. The HECAT can be customized to meet local community needs and conform to the curriculum requirements of the state or school district.