Annual reports tend to be labelled as boring, dense documents full of dull statistics and financial data but in the digital age, the opportunities to create dynamic and engaging reports, are endless.
Your year-end annual report is the perfect opportunity to showcase your company’s accomplishments, set out its ethos and inform the readers about future endeavours. Real facts and figures inspire trust and can be the spring board from which to tell an engaging and inspiring story of what your company does.
To create a memorable experience for your audience here some key considerations.
- Create a visually engaging experience
Going digital means more room to get creative with your visuals. You can use design elements to communicate key information simply and effectively while telling your brand story at the same time.
When Lalela approached us to design its annual report, we created a document that speaks to the importance of its educational arts programme for at-risk youth.
The vibrant colours used in the report contributes to the story of the positive impact on the children that have received support through its programme. Design elements such as brush strokes and text in a hand-written style contribute to showcase the amazing work Lalela has achieved through the arts.
Imaginative infographics, visual timelines, pull out quotes and beautiful images are all design elements that lighten the reading experience of the report.
2) Be Interactive
Annual reports typically contain a considerable amount of information and it can be difficult to navigate and digest when published in a traditionally printed booklet. With a digital report you can create a clickable contents page that takes you directly to the sections your readers are interested in.
Engage readers with information that changes when you hover over certain sections and with clickable links that take the reader to other relevant content such as videos online.
Here is an example of a digital document we created for Momentum that’s easy to navigate and uses subtle animations to engage readers.
3) Create a downloadable and interactive PDF
A downloadable PDF document has many advantages. It allows readers to view the report in their own time offline and it’s already in an easy to print format if they prefer to read it off screen.
Interactivity doesn’t have to suffer just because the digital report is in a PDF format. Clickable links and subtle animations are still possible in a PDF document.
For readers who enjoy reading a digital document in a way that emulates a printed document, their needs can be accommodated with any of the readymade digital reader options available online such as ISSU or Flipbooks with which you can digitally ‘page’ through a report.
Regardless of the format you choose for your report – PDF or digital reader format – readability is vital. Nothing is more frustrating for a reader than information that is difficult to read. This is where clever and clear design comes into play and our expertise in this area will not only provide you audience with a readable report but one which they enjoy reading too. Check out this flipable annual report we created for the South African Astronomical Observatory for an example of engaging content and easy readability.
5) Integrating online annual reports with your website or as a microsite
Creating your annual report as part of your website, or as a separate microsite, provides even more options for a dynamic reader experience.
Video, audio and animation content can be embedded in your site to create more compelling content. For example, to bring your CEO’s message to life, you could include a video message from him/her in your digital annual report.
Integrating your annual report into your website also allows for content navigation and presentation to easily be adapted and optimised for both desktop and mobile users.
Online reports allow you to utilise focused keywords and for optimal Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which opens up your report to a larger audience. We can help create a “choose your own adventure” experience for your audience with the right navigation and design elements built into your online report.
Yet another benefit of taking your annual report online is that, with the latest analytics tools, you can glean valuable data about who reads your annual report and how they engage with your content.
- Optimise your annual report for different screen sizes
In the fast-paced world many people do most of their reading on their phones or tablets. This can present readability problems if the report is designed to be viewed as an A4 document on a large screen. If readers have to keep zooming and panning to read your report, they will probably switch off.
Screen size issues are unlikely if you have a report integrated into your website or host it as a microsite, but if you opt for a downable PDF, the correct format and design is paramount for a pleasant reading experience across devices.
There are plenty of exciting and engaging ways way to present your report in the digital format and we can show you how.