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Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Sep;84(3):368-78. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.04.006. Epub 2011 May 8.

Tailored information for cancer patients on the Internet: effects of visual cues and language complexity on information recall and satisfaction.

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  • 1Department of Communication Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



This study was designed to investigate the effects of visual cues and language complexity on satisfaction and information recall using a personalised website for lung cancer patients. In addition, age effects were investigated.


An experiment using a 2 (complex vs. non-complex language)×3 (text only vs. photograph vs. drawing) factorial design was conducted. In total, 200 respondents without cancer were exposed to one of the six conditions.


Respondents were more satisfied with the comprehensibility of both websites when they were presented with a visual cue. A significant interaction effect was found between language complexity and photograph use such that satisfaction with comprehensibility improved when a photograph was added to the complex language condition. Next, an interaction effect was found between age and satisfaction, which indicates that adding a visual cue is more important for older adults than younger adults. Finally, respondents who were exposed to a website with less complex language showed higher recall scores.


The use of visual cues enhances satisfaction with the information presented on the website, and the use of non-complex language improves recall.


The results of the current study can be used to improve computer-based information systems for patients.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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