Thoughts on message consistency and WEA.
Message consistency is a popular topic among risk communicators in the severe weather space. With so many organizations making up the alert and warning community, there is a lot of competition to set themselves apart through their use of color and other design aspects, while maintaining consistency of messaging.
Empirical research has identified the importance of consistency internally and externally. In both cases, the goal is to eliminate confusion that can arise when sources and messages contradict one another. Early on, WEA researchers also identified a consistent format, or order of contents, that is most preferred and resulted in the optimized outcomes in response to short messages. WEAs should be written so that content follows the order: source, hazard (plus impact), location, guidance, and time (when the message expires). This suggests that risk communicators can align around the optimized structure and create consistency of message presentation. The two messages here offer examples of a water disruption message. One is written in more conversational tone; the second follows the recommended order identified by research. The second message also includes 1) the source of the message; 2) the location of impact; 3) the potential hazard impacts; and 4) a place to go for more information.
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