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Informatics 2017, 4(4), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/informatics4040033

Health Literacy for the General Public: Making a Case for Non-Trivial Visualizations

Department of Computer Science, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
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Academic Editor: Antony Bryant
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 23 September 2017
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Abstract

Health literacy is concerned with the degree to which individuals can access and understand information to make health decisions. The multifaceted nature of health data presents challenges for individuals seeking to improve their understanding of health. To aid health literacy efforts, we have developed HealthConfection, a visualization tool that uses elaborate and non-typical interactive visualizations to represent health data. In this paper, we report on two studies we conducted with HealthConfection. In the first study, we investigate whether individuals can learn to use non-typical visualizations, and the impact that short, minimalist video tutorials will have on participants’ understanding of the visualizations. The findings from this study suggest that individuals can learn to use non-typical visualizations and that participants who used the tutorials achieved higher scores than those without tutorials. This work indicates that non-typical visualizations are a viable option for conveying complex datasets. Based on this foundation, we conducted a second study to investigate if non-typical visualizations can improve health literacy for the general public. Results show that participants who used HealthConfection achieved higher scores than those who did not interact with the tool. Our work suggests that non-typical visualizations can be used to improve health literacy. View Full-Text
Keywords: visualization literacy; health literacy; consumer health informatics; visualization; interaction; visual representation; mixed-methods study; disease prevention; global health visualization literacy; health literacy; consumer health informatics; visualization; interaction; visual representation; mixed-methods study; disease prevention; global health
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Ola, O.; Sedig, K. Health Literacy for the General Public: Making a Case for Non-Trivial Visualizations. Informatics 2017, 4, 33.

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