Our company designs health information that is found on many web
portals, health plans and hospital websites. We are in the process of
redesigning a portion of this work that are a number of interactive
features/topics geared to help consumers make difficult health
decisions. There is a wealth of medical knowledge and input under the
model we are building, however, the nuance of how to gather consumer
ratings for how they are leaning on certain decisions is proving to be a
The basic pieces of information include statement(s) about a personal
feeling you may have about this medical decision, and then you are asked
to rate how important that particular issues is to you.
For example, in a decision tool about deciding between breast-conserving
surgery or a mastectomy to treat breast cancer, you find the following
"I am worried that the cancer will come back in my breast, even though I
know it will not affect my chance of survival."
The standard way in medical circles to discuss gaining feedback on this
is using a likert scale of saying 1= not very important and 5 = very
What we find as challenges/have tried as options are the following:
* Unless the scale for reference on 1 to 5 appears above each
statement (this particular decision tool has 10 unique statements to
evaluate, the likelihood that the individual can get confused on the
scale is high. Additionally, the screen real estate required to
individually label each statement/value pair is pretty high (and screen
real estate is at a premium)
* Using "stars" ala netflix or other consumer rating systems
tested very poorly.
* Using text based drop down ratings (instead of 1 to 5,
providing 5 textual values, i.e. not very important, less important,
neutral, more important, very important) work well, but don't provide
the user as nice of a visual confirmation of how all of these various
statements compare to each other.
* Using a small slider scale control seems potentially cleanest,
but carries the same labeling problem as the 1-5 likert scale...and a
little of the screen real estate issue.
Does anyone have any examples of solving this kind of issue in the past
or can point to good research regarding this? The research we've found
does not clear cut offer that one of the methods above is clearly
testing better than another.