3 tips for taking your annual report online

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Your annual report is a significant channel within your communications strategy each year. It is your most compelling connection with stakeholders, some of whom may also be clients or customers. It is your opportunity to build your brand, increase trust through transparency and present a professional and reliable company image.

Getting your annual report presentation right is crucial.

Annual reporting has evolved and continues to evolve, as a result of a variety of influential factors. The introduction of the Australian Government ‘Simpler Regulatory System Bill’ in 2007, rapidly-changing shareholder expectations and continuing advances in web design and implementation and other technology all mean that what was once a simple printed document, now needs to be so much more.

Our research shows online reporting is now the preferred annual report format for stakeholders. Improvements in mobile communications provide access to information anytime, anywhere and stakeholders expect your report to be consistent with this advancement.

When produced well, an online report can be used to improve readership, create and maintain interest and evoke a favourable response from stakeholders. Making a quick PDF-file of your existing report is just not going to cut it anymore.

For the best results, we have three simple tips:

  • Pay attention to structure and sequence: While online reporting means your stakeholders can jump from one section to another and back with ease, this doesn’t negate the need for a strong structure. Your online annual report is the story of your work throughout the year and the results that you have achieved. And every story has a structure and logical sequence. As you would with any web design and implementation project, plan your structure before you start content writing so you have a clear-cut direction for the report.
  • Think about navigation: Once you have your structure finalised, you can start to think about exactly how readers get from one section to the next. You’ll need an overarching navigation, but additional to this, an online annual report design gives you options you never had with print format. Can you assist your stakeholders’ seamless read of the document by using in-page and in-document links, buttons, imagery or other interactive devices? Get creative, but remember who the end user is and what their needs are.
  • Keep content clear and concise: Reading online is different than reading a hard copy. While some stakeholders will print your report, most will simply skim over it and read the part relevant to them. Ensure content writing is undertaken with clarity in mind as this will make reading and comprehension easier for everyone accessing the online report.

At Platform, we understand that ongoing advancements in web design and implementation, mobile devices and other technology mean your annual report design may also need to change to meet client expectations. We provide a ‘total reporting solution’ that allows for effective integration and delivery across online and printed formats.

For more information about creating effective online reports, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.

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