Difficult to read information about Covid-19 on Swedish websites


A study recently published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making has investigated Swedish websites’ information about Covid-19. The study shows that many of the websites were classified as having difficult readability and understandability.

Photo of the back of a person sitting in front of a laptop

Important to inform about the virus

The fast spread of the coronavirus in 2020 led to a large number of infected in Covid-19 and many mortalities. It was therefore important to inform about the virus and how it was spread.

Swedish websites were analyzed

This study investigated readability, understandability, and language accessibility for Swedish websites containing information about Covid-19. In the beginning of May 2020, information on 76 websites were collected and then analyzed. The readability and understandability of text-based content were assessed by the use of established index and assessment tools investigating information aimed at the general population.

May have contributed to the spread of the virus

Photo of Tommy Carlsson outside in the summer
Tommy Carlsson, associate professor at
the Swedish Red Cross University College and
associated researcher at the Healthcare Sciences
and e-Health research group. 

The study shows that the readability of a majority of the websites was moderate or difficult. The understandability was generally of low quality.

Tommy Carlsson is one of the researchers behind the study:

– Our study shows that the information on the Swedish websites was difficult to read and that the information was presented in a way that could make it difficult to understand. Only a few websites contained information in other languages than Swedish, which is an important finding considering that many who live in Sweden don’t have Swedish as their mother tongue.  It is possible that these quality deficits we’ve seen here may have contributed to the spread of the virus and health-related consequences for both individuals and the society.

Read the full paper ’Readability, understandability and language accessibility of Swedish websites about the coronavirus disease 2019: a cross-sectional study’. It is written by Susanne Georgsson and Tommy Carlsson.

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Last modified: 2022-05-25