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Professional appraisal of online information about children's footwear measurement and fit: Readability, usability and quality
journal contributionposted on 17.01.2021, 23:40 authored by C Price, M Haley, A Williams, Christopher Nester, SC Morrison
© 2020 The Author(s). Background: Parents increasingly use the internet to seek health information, share information and for purchasing textiles and footwear. This shift in footwear purchasing habits raises concern about how (and if) parents are getting their children's feet measured, and what support strategies are in place to support the fit of footwear. In response to this, some companies and healthcare organisations have developed resources to support home measurement of foot size, and link these measures to footwear selection, measurement and fitting. The aim of this research was to undertake an appraisal of web-based resources about measurement and fit of children's footwear, focussing specifically on readability, usability and quality. Methods: Search terms relating to children's foot measurement were compiled and online searching was undertaken. Search results were saved and screened for relevance. Existing resources were categorised based on their source e.g. a footwear company or a health website. The 15 most commonly identified resources were reviewed by a professional panel for readability, content, usability and validity. One researcher also assessed the accessibility and reading ease of the resources. Results: Online resources were predominantly from commercial footwear companies (54%). Health information sources from professional bodies made up 4.2% of the resources identified. The top 15 resources had appropriate reading ease scores for parents (SMOG Index 4.3-8.2). Accessibility scores (the product of the number of times it appeared in search results and its ranking in the results) were highest for commercial footwear companies. The panel scores for readability ranged from 2.7 to 9 out of 10, with a similar range for content, usability and validity. Conclusions: Information for parents seeking to purchase footwear for their children is readily available online but this was largely dominated by commercial footwear companies. The quality and usability of this information is of a moderate standard; notable improvements could be made to the validity of the task the child is asked to undertake and the measures being taken. Improvements in these resources would improve the data input to the selection of footwear and therefore have a beneficial impact on footwear fit in children.