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Internet Design Preferences of Patients With Cancer

Cynthia Chernecky
Denise Macklin
Jennifer Waller
ONF 2006, 33(4), 787-792 DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.787-792

Purpose/Objectives: To describe computer experience and preferences for multimedia design.

Design: Prospective, descriptive.

Setting: Physician office and outpatient cancer centers in an urban area in the southeastern United States.

Sample: Convenience sample of 22 volunteer patients with cancer from four racial groups.

Methods: A questionnaire on computer experiences was followed by a hands-on computer session with questions regarding preferences for seven interface items. Data termination occurred when sample size was obtained.

Main Research Variables: Design of Internet education site for patients. Variables include preferences, computer, cancer, multimedia, and education.

Findings: Eighty-two percent had personal computers, 41% used a computer daily, and 95% believed that computers would be a good avenue for learning about cancer care. Preferences included display colors in blue and green hues; colored buttons; easy-to-read text; graphics with a simple design and large, clear pictures; serif font in dark type; light-colored background; and larger photo size in a rectangle shape. Most popular graphic icons as metaphors were 911 for emergency, picture of skull and crossbones for danger, and a picture of a string on an index finger representing reminder. The simple layout most preferred for appearances was one that included text and pictures, read from left to right, and was symmetrical in its placement of pictures and text on the page.

Conclusions: Preferences are necessary to maintain interest and support navigation through computer designs to enhance the translation of knowledge to patients.

Implications for Nursing: Development of multimedia based on patient preferences will enhance education, learning, and, ultimately, quality patient care.

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