Background: Printed participant information about randomised controlled trials is often long, technical and difficult to navigate. Improving information materials is possible through optimisation and user-testing, and may impact on participant understanding and rates of recruitment. Methods: A study within a trial (SWAT) was undertaken within the CASPER trial. Potential CASPER participants were randomised to receive either the standard trial information or revised information that had been optimised through information design and user testing. Results: A total of 11,531 patients were randomised in the SWAT. Rates of recruitment to the CASPER trial were 2.0% in the optimised information group and 1.9% in the standard information group (odds ratio 1.027; 95% CI 0.79 to 1.33; p=0.202). Conclusions: Participant information that had been optimised through information design and user testing did not result in any change to rate of recruitment to the host trial. Registration: ISRCTN ID ISRCTN02202951; registered on 3 June 2009.