Table 4:

Practical suggestions for improving screening materials

Area of focusSuggestion
  • Use of bold or highlighting (colour) to attract the reader’s eye is helpful for key points

  • Font size must be large enough to be easily read; consider your primary audience (e.g., women > 50 yr) when determining the formatting of the materials

  • Use colour to catch the reader’s eye — something needs to draw them in, so the materials don’t seem too technical or “dull”

  • Do not provide too much information on 1 page; if including information on both sides of a page (e.g., a letter), be certain that the reader knows to turn the page over

  • Cover needs to grab the attention of the reader

  • Present statistics for all issues, even if there is uncertainty in the data (e.g., for overdiagnosis)

  • Provide comparisons (e.g., mortality rates for screened and unscreened women) to put information into context

  • Present the information in different ways to ensure understanding (e.g., numbers, charts, graphs, infographics)

  • Present the statistics as number in 100 or 1000 as those are the easiest numbers to relate to

  • Use images sparingly

  • Images can be used to get key information across (e.g., photographs of a mammography machine)

  • Avoid photographs of people, where possible, so all citizens can see themselves in the photographs

  • When including photographs of people, ensure that the diversity of the population is captured and that the photographs represent the target audience (women aged 50–74 yr)

Structure of information
  • Use headings, table of contents to make information easy to find

  • Consider a questions-and-answer approach throughout the materials, or a frequently asked questions section

  • Providing information in a series of short points (bullet form) can help the reader get through a large amount of information

  • Consider carefully what language to use when describing risks and benefits (e.g., pros and cons, harms and benefits)

  • Ensure that the language supports choice

  • Be aware of the reading level of the text

  • Consider other sources of information in addition to print materials: social media, websites, email campaign, in-person campaigns, television

  • Trusted media personalities (e.g., daytime talk show hosts) for the age group could also be engaged to share the evidence