Improving NWS Communication: Hazard Simplification Demonstration

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 4:45 PM
Room C108 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Eli Jacks, NOAA/NWS Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services, Silver Spring, MD; and J. T. Ferree, A. J. Ansorge, and M. J. Hudson

The National Weather Service (NWS) conducted a “Hazard Simplification Demonstration” during the winter of 2012-2013. The objectives of this demonstration were to (1) Assess user understanding of NWS' winter weather hazard messages (Watches, Warnings and Advisories; WWA), (2) Propose alternative message headlines using plain English, and (3) Collect public and partner comments on the proposed alternative. For this demonstration, the alternative language and the current official WWA products were displayed in real-time, side-by-side on a non-operational webpage for easy comparison. Feedback was collected through a web-accessible survey and email. Over 6000 combined responses were received during the demonstration. As an additional benefit of the feedback process, many people suggested other alternatives and/or enhancements for simplification and clarification.

The winter demonstration of 2013-2014 will focus on incorporating some of the most frequently cited feedback into new text-based and graphical prototypes. Social science expertise will be engaged to refine the prototypes and lead focus groups to assess public response. This presentation will summarize the results of the 2012-2013 demonstration, cover the new text and graphical prototypes, and relate initial results from 2013-2014 demonstration.