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The port and transport logistics group Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has set a new course with their online annual report 2015. For the very first time, the publication strategy is focused on the digital report format. This means that the content is primarily conceived for the display and use on screen.
As the responsible agency, nexxar accompanied the conception and implementation of the combined annual and sustainability report from the very beginning and paved the way for the implementation of the new process. Using the Online First approach, HHLA benefits from the advantages of multi-channel publishing, thereby generating online, PDF and print reports from one and the same data source.
A completely new concept for design and functionality was created for the digital report, which is not based on the corporate website. One goal was to visually transport the identity of the port logistics group as clearly as possible. On the other hand, following the “digital thinking” approach, the concept was created in order to ensure the best presentation and usability of all content on screens – from smartphone to full HD display. This meant considering standards of content preparation for the web: clear text structures through hierarchical headings, lots of white space, easy-to-read font sizes with sufficient line spacing and the use of elements such as lists, charts and graphics to enable a quick comprehension of content. In terms of usability, attention was also paid to a well-conceived navigation for both desktop and mobile devices, the linking of related contents as well as a clear report structure.
One highlight of the report can be found on the landing page: the interactive wheel provides a quick reporting overview and offers links to more specific reporting contents. Stakeholders are presented with information regarding significant developments in the HHLA segments and fields of action, while topic-related links allow users to dive deeper into the content. At the same time, the rotating full-screen background photos create an immediate association with the maritime industry – in this year’s annual report, HHLA relies on a completely new visual language, which expresses the dynamic of the Hamburg harbour.
For the HHLA online report, many traditional presentation formats were assessed and evaluated based on their digital suitability. The materiality analysis, for example, is not presented as the usual static coordinate graphic, but as an interactive version. Users can zoom into the coordinates by clicking and sort the material issues by category (Ecology, Society and Economy) or significance. The individual topics are linked with further information inside the report.
HHLA also follows a new approach with the presentation of the GRI index: In most reports this type of content is displayed in tabular form, with large amounts of text (indicators, comments etc.) packed into small columns and set in a small font size. However, in the HHLA annual report the GRI index was designed to be much more suitable for reception on the screen. By implementing an accordion design, the provided information makes use of the full content width while remaining perfectly readable and fully responsive.
More efficiency with multi-channel publishing
For the creation of the PDF the port logistics group uses the multi-channel publishing approach Online First developed by nexxar. The report PDF (which is also the basis of the printed report) can be generated and formatted anytime from the online report, at the push of a button. Thereby, the layout of the PDF is created automatically based on pre-defined format requirements according to the HHLA print specifications. For example, the content of the PDF can be set in a double column layout with justification and hyphenation. Special elements, such as pull quotes or graphics, are individually styled and positioned for the PDF. Interactive online solutions are replaced with their static but equally informative counterparts (e.g. the interactive materiality analysis).
One major advantage of this approach: Content changes that are carried out by the project team in the content management system (CMS) can be synchronised with the PDF at any time, with just one click. The nexxar Report Manager also provides additional collaboration benefits: The majority of the task-oriented communication takes place via the integrated Ticketing System and an integrated File Transfer System allows for the exchange of files.