During 2010 and 2011, eight community-based organizations, referred to as Alliances, tested new or existing websites with potential users. This document presents recommendations for improving a public reporting website based on the lessons learned from that testing. The recommendations focus on three sections of websites that are particularly important to successfully engaging and supporting consumers in their health care decision making:
• Home page
• Comparative reports of quality
• Health information
Each section summarizes what problem arose in testing, why this was a challenge for consumers, and how to address the challenge along with some examples. The examples come from the websites of the eight Alliances that conducted testing.
Using these recommendations—in combination with the application of effective strategies to display comparative quality information and contextual information that help consumers understand and use quality information—will help your organization more effectively garner consumer interest in your website, increasing overall traffic and return visits. Furthermore, these recommendations are actionable steps that your organization can take to support consumers in using the information to make health care decisions.