10. Digital

Digital annual reports are becoming the industry norm. There are many ways to showcase your report – from indexed PDFs to comprehensive annual report microsites.




Best practice


Key points:
  1. Contents and index linked to the main sections of the report
  2. Links to relevant sites of other documents
  3. Ability to access financial information in spreadsheet form
  4. Downloadable sections for later reading and printing
  5. The report available soon after the results are released
  6. Animation that doesn’t slow down the file.

While digital annual reports are the way forward it is important that the design engages your audience and doesn’t overwhelm them with complicated graphics or information that is difficult to navigate.

The criteria which should be considered for a digital report is listed on the ARA site:
Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA) Online Reporting Award.


Why a microsite


A microsite is a brand-specific website (or a single web page) that companies use to publish their annual reports or promote products, events or campaigns. These are hosted on the company’s subdomain and have a different URL than their company websites.

Not only is publishing your annual report digitally more sustainable for the environment, but it is also more sustainable for your organization. The initial cost of developing a microsite for your annual report, can exceed the cost of the traditional format. However, that initial investment is a critical factor in how you will go about engaging as many stakeholders as possible when delivering your annual report.


Asaleo’s microsite - view here


Increase engagement


As traditional printed annual reports are being rapidly replaced by digital/interactive versions these platforms provide a different user experience (UX) for the online reader. Interactive versions are not only more engaging but allow businesses to increase their readership, measure engagement, test, learn lessons and adjust their messaging on the go.

Using analytics


Business managers use analytics to track and report more easily on their annual report’s performance. Being able to see who is reading sections of your report content from which devices is invaluable when planning to improve your report’s performance in the future.

Mobile use


Mobile usage is increasing rapidly and making sure your annual report is displayed optimally will reflect on how forward thinking and relevant your organisation is.

Access to a responsive microsite that can be navigated easily on a small screen is an advantage. People are consuming all types of content on the go and single page annual reports allow the reader to scroll logically through the report.

Search Engine Optimisation


Using a microsite to present your data means that all the individual elements of your report are readily visible to search engines. That helps readers to find the exact content they are looking for, efficiently. In turn, that will ensure your data turns up in more search results and your website gets more traffic.


Ansell’s microsite - view here

Animated content


Websites provide the potential for more animation and interaction than PDFs or flip style books. Creating an improved user experience can be achieved by using video, audio, animations and interactions engage the reader and make the information easier to digest.

Flexibility is the key and a digital report allows you to turn static data into a dynamic presentation so that the information that matters is presented in an engaging way.

Parallax scrolling


Parallax scrolling is when the website layout sees the background of the web page moving at a slower rate to the foreground, creating a 3D effect as you scroll. Parallax scrolling's been around for a while but it's a web design trend that refuses to go away. Used sparingly it can provide a nice, subtle element of depth that results in a distinctive and memorable website.