Writing and Designing Effective Communication: A Comprehensive Course

From left to right: Janet Ohene-Frempong, MS, Jann Keenan, EdS

From left to right: Janet Ohene-Frempong, MS, Jann Keenan, EdS

Jann Keenan, Ed.S & Janet Ohene-Frempong, MS, IHA Strategic Partners

Jann Keenan and Janet Ohene-Frempong gave a daylong workshop on strategies for communicating effectively with constituents through both print and online materials. They used many samples created throughout their careers to illustrate what works and what doesn’t work. Ohene-Frempong stressed the health communication and health literacy must incorporate a reader-centered approach. This is the best way to engage, support, and motivate readers. They offered tips for how to implement this approach in both writing and designing materials in different media.

The presenters discussed how to write effective materials by offering tips on content, organization, and style. They also discussed effective design and page layout techniques to engage readers and increase understanding. If you aren’t designing your own materials, then it’s important to raise awareness in your designer about why design needs to be done a certain way. Keenan emphasized that an early buy-in from all partners in the creation of patient materials is key to creating health literate communication.

The presenters explained how to assess the readability of text and design and explored how to use readability tools and field-testing. They discussed how to revise text and design to improve readability. They also coached participants on how to plan a writing project. They encouraged attendees to be advocates for their readers. If there is crucial information you want to include, but limited space, the writer must fight to keep content that will benefit the end-user.

The workshop included two group exercises: a writing exercise and a revising exercise. The presenters led the group through the exercises step by step. The main take away from the session was that we must write for our readers and end-users. Being focused on the end-user is crucial to the creation of clear and effective communication.