(79) The benefits of risk reduction

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This image presents a risk estimate to a patient, and more importantly, it also shows them how much that risk could be reduced. It uses an icon array display, which research has shown is a particularly effective type of graphic at showing risk but which needed new thinking about how to show risk reduction.

What’s special about this image?

This icon display uses strong background/outline cues to make the current risk very clear. Risk reduction is then shown by color of the blocks themselves.

One weakness is that the total level of risk after weight loss is never numerically shown – it is shown only via the number of red blocks.

In our testing, this image appeared better at communicating current risk than other images, although it is unclear whether it is the graphic itself or the particular labels and groupings which make it effective. If comprehension of the current risk number is your primary goal, then this graphic may be an appropriate choice. If communicating incremental risk reduction (risk changes) is instead your primary risk communication goal, then this graphic may be a more appropriate choice.
  • My goal
  • Raise or lower concern
  • Differences in likelihood
  • Details or gist?
  • Verbatim recall
  • Gist understanding
  • Data I have
  • Test result
  • Risk estimate
  • Benefit estimate
  • Health conditions
  • Weight loss
  • Diabetes
  • Graphic type
  • Icon array