3 Steps for Creating an Outstanding Warning Label
This entry was posted on December 09, 2014.
Warning Labels are Necessities on Many Household Products
While most products are perfectly safe when used correctly, there is always the chance that someone could get hurt if they use certain items incorrectly. Perhaps the person is inexperienced in using the product or are children who do not know any better. Either way, it is critical that household products have noticeable warning labels to ensure proper usage and prevent people from accidentally harming or exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals or other hazards.
However, as Visual Expert explained, the problem with many warning labels is that they do not always work the way they're supposed to. Perhaps they do not pop out on the label at all so people do not even see them, or maybe they catch users' attention but do not effectively explain the danger. Here are a few steps product manufacturers can take to make more effective label products:
1. Users Must Notice Warnings on Product Labels What is the point of issuing warnings on product labels if customers do not even see them? A warning label must do more than simply be there - they must draw the attention of users even when people are not not looking specifically for them. This is especially the case when talking about products that may not seem harmful at first glance - for instance, consuming too many energy drinks in a day can be unhealthy, but how many people actually think about this?
As the news source noted, warning labels must be positioned as such so customers notice the warning, regardless of whether they are looking for it. People may be more wary of products that are known to be hazardous if used incorrectly, such as medicine or cleaning chemicals, but a noticeable warning label is even more critical for products that may seem harmless.
2. Custom Labels Help Customers Understand Warnings Seeing warnings on custom labels is one thing, but how many customers actually understand the meaning? Conveying a warning that everyone will understand is a tall order. It is crucial to understand that not everyone has the same ability to interpret messages - a child may not comprehend complicated words, an older user may have declining cognitive abilities and a non-native speaker may not have the vocabulary to fully interpret the message.
This is why many warning labels use symbols and graphics to convey messages - it is just another way for brands to send a message to users. For example, a skull and crossbones is commonly used to denote poison hazards. A circle with a cross over a child means the product is not designed for children. There are numerous ways in which product manufacturers can communicate warnings in addition to simple text, so it is critical they explore these options.
3. Encouraging users to heed warnings Once brands have gotten customers to notice warnings and understand them, they need to make a convincing argument as to why users should heed them. This sounds silly, but people are very willing to incorrectly use products if it is more convenient to do so. For example, if someone needs to go to work, they may wind up driving after taking medication that says they should not operate machinery.
The goal here is making a strong case to comply with the warning. For instance, CNN reported that the Food & Drug Administration wanted to force cigarette manufacturers to include graphic images, to reinforce warnings about the dangers of cigarettes. Although the initiative failed, it is a good example of ways brands can reinforce warnings. The goal is to convey the importance of the warning and encourage people to use products safely and correctly.
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