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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Update the order and visual design to improve message readability.




Message design is more than just the inclusion of contents, it also includes the ordering and the use of visual effects to capture attention. Researchers have found that the order of contents in a 360-character message should be: source, hazard/description, location guidance, expiration time [in the case that an expiration time is not possible to predict, time can be inserted as part of the hazard description or a an indicator of when a protective action should be taken or completed].


The original message sent on 10/28 is complete (if you count “at this time” as timing information). It includes some of the key features that the Warning Response Model recommends, based upon the research record. However, if we redesign the message, we can follow recommended order, and reduce the extraneous text allowing us to add information that was missing (in this case, the hazard description about the dangers of smoke).



We also add a few style features. We eliminate abbreviations (info) and highlight key words by using CAPS to emphasize the name of the hazard (FIRE) and the actions that people should take to protect themselves (AVOID, GO, STAY). By using ALL CAPS to highlight the most important information, we direct the readers' eyes and reduce the effort required to read under highly stressful conditions.




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