Guidance & Tools

The guidance and tools on this page can help make your health information accurate, accessible, and actionable.

Communication Guidance

  • Accessible Digital Content: Tips and Tricks
    U.S. General Services Administration, Technology Transformation Services
    In this 2021 webinar recording, the presenters bring attention to some of the common accessibility mistakes that people make when developing digital content, show attendees how to fix them, and demonstrate how to create a product that’s accessible from the start.
  • 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.
  • NIH National Cancer Institute “Pink Book” – Making Health Communication Programs Work
    National Cancer Institute
    This book describes a practical approach for planning and implementing health communication efforts. It covers a range of topics, from planning and strategy development, to pretesting materials, to implementing the campaign, to evaluation.

Material Assessment Tools

  • Clear Communication Index
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    The CDC Clear Communication Index (Index) is a research-based tool to plan and assess public communication materials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Index to identify the most important factors that increase clarity and aid understanding of public messages and materials.
  • Clear Writing Assessment
    National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    The Clear Writing Assessment focuses primarily on grammar and mechanics to help you write clearly. Answer 16 questions about your material, and use the score to determine if your document needs further revisions. A user guide helps explain the importance of all 16 items in the assessment tool.
Clear Communication Index

CDC developed the Clear Communication Index to identify the most important factors that increase clarity and aid understanding of public messages and materials.

Plain Language Materials & Resources

  • Plain language makes it easier for everyone to understand and use health information. Although plain language is a familiar idea, many organizations don’t use it as often as they should. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to train staff and use plain language when they communicate with the public.

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 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.