Online reports can offer a wide variety of options and features, from interactive infographics to sophisticated search tools. Here we have compiled the most important ones: the state-of-the-art, the standard, and the must-haves.
Even complex topics can be made accessible with well-designed interactive infographics. These are tailor-made to fit the specific needs of the topic itself and to reflect the character of the report and of the company. They enhance user experience and help make a report more lively and more dynamic. Example: Clariant
Charts are the best way to visualize information – and our interactive Chart Generator allows users to engage with the data by selecting what information to display and how, essentially creating a personalized graphic. The data can be shown as a bar chart, a line chart or a table; it can also be downloaded in XLS format or printed. Examples: BASF, Solvay, voestalpine
Find out more about the Chart Generator here.
Annual reports are complex documents, providing a great amount of information on many different topics. How to make sure users can find what they are looking for as quickly as possible? One answer is the topic filter, an additional navigational tool which allows users to filter the report by a specific tag. Example: adidas
User statistics report
To help you finetune your reporting strategy, we can deliver various types of statistical reports that detail who the visitors are (stakeholder analysis), what they look for (search request analysis), how many there were and how they found the report (reach analysis) or which parts of the report have been viewed most (use analysis).
Engaging the readers is key to keeping them interested, which in turn is key to reaching communication goals. But annual reports tend to be rather dry documents – so how to generate user engagement? One option is to include interactive and gamification elements, such as quiz questions. Example: Covestro Magazine
The Dashboard is another example of how the online format makes it possible to structure the report and guide readers to the most important information in multiple different ways simultaneously. A collection of tiles presents the key highlights in a visually impactful way, with links to the relevant sections where users can engage with the topic more in depth. Example: adidas
The online format makes it possible to include a CEO message in video form in the annual report, and many companies are taking advantage of this. The potential of moving images is considerable: it strengthens the message from the management, helps convey the character and values of the company and adds a personal touch. Example: HHLA
Interactive materiality matrix
The materiality analysis as an interactive overview allows the user to display material issues in different views, e.g. a collected view or separately, ordered by relevance from the perspective of the company or the stakeholders. Individual issues can be linked with related information in the report and encourage the user to further explore the report. Example: HHLA
Standard statistical tools can tell you how many visitors there were and which parts of the report they read, but they cannot tell you who they were. To answer this question, we have introduced a micro-survey, where visitors can, on a voluntary basis, let us know which stakeholder group they belong to. Examples: Lonza, adidas
Search – keywords/find as you type
1) Keywords are a “guided” search function which shows important search terms in a selection box. The user is offered a list containing the most relevant hits, regardless of whether this specific term actually appears in the text or not.
2) While entering a search term, a list of content found in the report is displayed beneath the search box. The list is ranked by relevance and adapts automatically to the input. This form of support leads users to the required hits more quickly.
Examples: Akzo Nobel, Deutsche Telekom
This feature converts the numbers in a table row into a line chart on mouseover. A button above the table allows for this extra feature to be turned on and off. Technologically, this plug-in abstains from Flash, and can therefore be fully functional on the iPad/iPhone. Example: Shell
This feature allows for an extensive integration of the GRI-index within the report: the relevant GRI indicators are automatically added to every page of the report. On click, the reader can consult a GRI overview with all additional information about the specific GRI-indicator. Example: Schaeffler
Interactive single charts
Graphs and tables from the printed report are animated as bar, line or pie charts. Any graphic or table in the report can serve as database. Example: Liechtensteinische Landesbank
After a detailed analysis of the content, we suggest a network of “further information” links based on the structure of the report. These link to pages with related topics. The concept is a similar one to what is known from online shops: “Users who are interested in this topic usually also feel addressed by the following.” Example: Hugo Boss
Compare to last year
This function provides a link on each page of the online report to the corresponding page of previous year’s report. Explanations and figures can therefore be compared quickly and easily across several different years. Example: METRO GROUP
This glossary function offers an explanation or definition of terms or abbreviations by moving the mouse over or by clicking on the required term. Example: Galapagos
To achieve Level AA and AAA, all contents of the report that normally could not be read aloud by screen readers (e.g. pictures, animations, videos) for blind and visually impaired persons are additionally described by means of a text. The Wacker report also features a version of the report in plain English. Example: Wacker
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
More and more users locate online reports through search engines. Indexing the content of a report in the best possible way is thus key for good visibility in search results. Example: Google search for BASF annual report
A download page for PDF and XLS files offers a simple but effective way of compiling all the elements of the report that can be downloaded. Example: Galapagos
Responsive design allows for an ideal presentation of web content on all types of devices, from classic PCs to tablets and smartphones. The layout adjusts automatically to the available browser window size, without the need for an additional mobile version. This makes the usage of online reports more comfortable for mobile users, who become more and more numerous. Example: Volkswagen
The online search function offers important advantages over searching in PDFs: search matches are arranged by relevance (title, subtitle, body text). The searched term is highlighted with colour for better identification, both in the hit list and on the pages themselves. Example: Sandvik
Indexed XLS file
The indexed Excel file contains all tables of the report in individual worksheets. The values are formatted in a manner that allows for their use in further calculations. Example: Snam
Service side bar and social sharing
On the right side of every page, a social media button allows users to share the content in one click, while back/next/top buttons provide an additional navigational tool. Other shortcuts, such as links to the download page, glossary or the chart generator, can be added as necessary. Example: BVB
Cross-linking of financial statements with notes
Linking is what HTML is all about. Throughout the entire report, wherever reference is made to another section, a link is provided. Example: Flughafen München