Boxed risk warnings are widely used and required by many information regulators. They have a poor effectiveness record.
In general they are used effectively by less than 50% of test subjects in the reported research, well below the minimum usability standard which we routinely use in such things as Consumer Medicines Information, Medicine labelling, and the many public documents that we design, which state that:
…90% of literate readers should be able to find the warning, and 90% of those should be able to act appropriately on the warning.
Designing documents for people to use and Designing public documents:
The reasons for the failure of boxed risk warnings are complex. But this review sheds light on the reasons by setting them in a communication framework with an emphasis on designing information holistically to meet peoples’ expectations.
We are undertaking an update of this review based on more recent findings, and welcome your comments towards improving our update. boxed-warnings