Table 2. Practical UDR guidelines for communicating information in research instruments and interventions.

 

Provide auditory, visual, tactile, and low literacy options for communicating all necessary information.
• Ensure that all materials needed by research participants are available in multiple formats (for example, the informed consent form, research instruments, and instructions for interventions).
• Ask each individual to choose his or her preferred format.
• Create print materials in a format readily transformed into accessible materials, according to the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (24). The simplest way to do this for short documents is to use the “Styles” option in Word.
• Use plain language (23, 25).
• In visual formats, use pictures to illustrate major concepts.
• In audio formats, use conversations and sounds to illustrate major concepts.
• When creating study Web sites, make sure they are accessible to screen readers and compliant with Section 508 Amendment of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (26).
• For surveys with numbered responses, consider using a telephone keypad survey, which is accessible to anyone who uses a telephone.
Options for communicating with persons with hearing impairment
• For communicating with persons who are hard of hearing, (i) speak in the middle of your voice range, (ii) pronounce words clearly, (iii) resist the urge to overenunciate, which distorts pronunciation and lip movements, and (iv) consider purchasing and offering the use of a portable personal amplifier.
• Lip reading, although not sufficient for good communication alone, can provide useful information that helps make speech more understandable. Ask the person if he or she uses lip reading. For lip readers, position yourself with clear sight lines and good lighting on your face. Avoid sitting with a bright window behind you.
• For communicating with persons who use American Sign Language (ASL), hire an ASL interpreter (27). Because ASL has different grammar, syntax, and vocabulary from English, translation may not be exact (28). Like native speakers of other languages, people with ASL as their first language often have difficulty reading English fluently; they may need an ASL interpreter to understand documents in written English. Plain language in the original document can make accurate translation easier.
• Use a Video Relay Service (VRS) to communicate with deaf participants by telephone (20–22). [Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (or TDD), an older technology, is being phased out.]
• When using audiovisual materials for interventions, ensure that all needed information is communicated visually (for example, though closed captioning).
Options for communicating with persons with visual impairment
• For participants with low vision, provide materials in large print (18-point, bold, sans-serif font) on nonglare paper; encourage the use of magnifiers and other assistive technology (29, 30).
• Provide materials in Braille for Braille readers (31).
• Provide text documents in digital format to participants who use computers with screen readers.
• Consider (i) providing audio recordings for people who cannot read large print or Braille and (ii) using digital media that allow for personalization (for example, changing the size and colors of fonts and controlling volume).
• When using audiovisual materials for interventions, ensure that all needed information is communicated audibly though a sound track that describes any necessary visual information or through audio description (32).