Medical Writing Writing for Lay Audiences What do writers need to know about user testing?

Volume 24, Issue 4 - Writing for Lay Audiences

What do writers need to know about user testing?


Increasing amounts of information are being made available to patients – but how do we know if we are getting it right and meeting people's needs? In this article, we describe how we have employed user testing to test and improve not just information for patients, but also for professionals and others. This is built on the many years of using this technique, first at the University of Leeds and then through the spin-out company Luto Research (

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  1. Raynor DK, Dickinson D. Key principles to guide consumer medicine information–content analysis of information design texts. Ann Pharmacother. 2009;43(4):700–6.
  2. Raynor DK. User testing in developing patient medication information in Europe. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2013;9(5):640–5.
  3. Sless D, Shrensky R. Writing about medicines for people. Sydney: Australian Self Medication Industry; 2006.
  4. Sless D. Designing public documents. Info Design J. 2004;12(1):24–35.
  5. Raynor DK. Health literacy – Is it time to shift our focus from patient to provider? BMJ. 2012;344:e2188.
  6. Raynor DK, De Veene P, Bryant D. The effectiveness of the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) and recommendations for improvement. Ther Innov Regul Sci. 2014;48:255–65.
  7. Knapp P, Raynor DK, Silcock J, Parkinson B. Can user testing of a clinical trial patient information sheet make it fit-for-purpose? A randomized controlled trial. BMC Med. 2011;9:89.
  8. Raynor DK, Bryant D. European Public Assessment Report (EPAR) summaries for the public: are they fit for purpose? A user-testing study. BMJ Open. 2013;3(9):e003185.



Writing for lay audiences
President's Message
Writing for lay audiences: A challenge for scientists
Patient education accessibility
Legislation and the lay audience: Challenges of communicating benefit and risk in the light of new regulations
Medical writing for two audiences – The RMP public summary
Layperson summaries of clinical trial results: Useful resources in the vacuum of regulatory guidance
Package leaflets for medication in the EU: The possibility of integrating patients’ perspectives in a regulated genre?
What do writers need to know about user testing?
Medical journalism: Another way to write about science
Elements of storytelling in medical journalism
A stroll through the medical blogosphere
Writing narrative style literature reviews
News from the EMA
Profile: An interview with Laura Carolina Collada Ali: On the peculiarities of working for independent research organisations
The Webscout
In the Bookstores
Regulatory Writing
Lingua Franca and Beyond
Gained in Translation
English Grammar and Style
Out On Our Own

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