For the past couple of years, we’ve created a digital annual report for one of our long-term clients, FEI. We’ve found this to be a much more engaging format for many reasons, and saves a lot of the stress and hassle that comes with creating a printed copy. I’ve picked out a few key reasons as to why digital annual reports are the way to go.
What is an annual report?
If you didn’t already know, an annual report is a financial summary of a company’s activities during the year. They usually contain things like balance sheets, income statements and lots of corporate information. Truly riveting stuff.
Why make a digital version?
Annual reports are traditionally referred to as ‘grey literature’ which is quite an accurate summary of their contents. Whilst they are often quite nicely designed and printed on some fancy GF Smith stock, there are only so many ways you can dress up a pie chart or bar graph. With a digital canvas, you can add all sorts of bells and whistles, stuff that just can’t be achieved with the traditional printed copy. Also, the environment? Being green and all that.
Perhaps the most obvious and significant factor is flexibility. No need to spend a fortune on printing a million copies, experience the heartache of noticing a mistake in one of those copies, and spend a second fortune on getting those revised copies re-printed.
Technologies like WordPress also make it incredibly easy to make any changes further down the line, even for your average Joe. Spotted some incorrect figures? A glaring typo staring you in the face? No problem. Just jump into the editor and make those tweaks!
A digital annual report can tie in nicely with any social campaigns you might be running, and is much easier to promote on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, attracting a far wider audience beyond your measly address book. It’s also a hell of a lot easier to drop a web address at the bottom of an email and press ‘send to all’, as opposed to an expensive trip to the Post Office and a sore back from lugging all those reports…
More visually appealing
The main drawback of a traditional annual report is the amount of static information. Lots of tables, graphs, text and what not. Whilst this is informative, it doesn’t exactly jump off the page and make you want to read it. With a digital version, there’s scope to add video, animation and much more. You can see below how we incorporated some nice little touches to FEI’s, in particular those fancy leaderboards.
A better user experience
Annual reports are often quite lengthy, which means a lot of flicking through pages to find the right section. However, with a digital one, this can be more carefully considered so that it’s less of a hassle. In many ways it’s just like an ordinary website, so the ability to incorporate a navigation system allows you to quickly switch between sections, and only see the bits you’re interested in. It’ll work just as well on that little device you’re glued to as well.
That’s all for now. If you’re interested in seeing the full thing in all of its glory, you can have a gander here: