What is this research about?
As immigrants continue to seek information online, Immigrant service provider organizations (SPOs’) websites hold value in increasing the health literacy and health-wellness of immigrants. This research assessed the current state of immigrant SPOs’ websites as information infrastructures and reveals areas for improvement.
What do you need to know?
SPOs are often immigrants’ first point of contact to Canadian systems, such as job, education, health and social care, and housing. Prior research emphasizes the health literacy potential of websites as information infrastructures that can reduce information poverty and improve health outcomes. Yet, whether health-wellness resources are present on immigrant SPOs’ websites in a user-friendly manner remains unexplored.
What did the researchers do?
The authors identified the presence of health-wellness resources on SPOs’ websites and analyzed those contents to understand their typology. They also looked at website navigability, usability, and credibility of those websites regarding the health-wellness resources.
What did the researchers find?
Among the 1453 SPO websites identified via Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) newcomer services webpage. The authors used the IRCC list as it is used by immigrants to Canada to locate SPOs near them, by location. After removing duplicate website links and websites with inactive links, they were left with 804 eligible websites. Only 289 had health-wellness information in their web-contents.
Of the websites with health-wellness contents, “lifestyle and wellness resources” were present on 86.5% and “healthcare system resources” were present on 80.6% of the websites.
The authors defined navigability as "number of mouse clicks required to navigate to health-wellness resources and the number of language options available to navigate the website. The category of number of mouse clicks was coded according to decreasing navigability: whether zero, one to two, or three or more mouse clicks were required to navigate to health-wellness resources. The category of number of language options was also coded according to decreasing navigability: whether four or more, two to three, or one language option was available to navigate the website." Zero to two mouse clicks were required to access health-wellness resources on 94.8% of the websites; however, more than one language option was very limited, available on less than a quarter of websites.
Categories for usability were "site map/menu, return to homepage from every page, headings or sub-headings, high contrast between website background and text, search bar, site logo/name on every page, and large font size. The categories under the focus area of usability were coded according to whether or not they were present on the website."
Credibility was divided into three categories and ten sub-categories: authority (authoritative domain name (.gov, .org, .edu), street address, and contact web form), reliability (distinction between advertising and non-advertising content, disclosed funding source, and authorship/references), and relevance (date content created, date content updated, date currency (less than 5 years) and no date).
How can you use this research?
Improve your websites if you're providing health and wellness resources and information.
Make sure your websites are navigable, usable, and credible. The content you create, in any category, should meet the categories for each of these to ensure the information is helpful for Newcomers.
The authors recommend SPOs add resources for obtaining healthcare card, accessing primary care, sexual and reproductive, parenting, senior's health, mental wellbeing, and women's health information to their websites.
They also recommend websites accommodate ethnic language option to improve navigability for immigrants.