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Online Reporting Mini Guide


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An overview of Emperor\'s experience in online annual reports.

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Online Reporting Mini Guide

  1. 1. A mini guide to online reporting Emperor Design Creating targeted, effective communications for today’s online reporting world
  2. 2. Introduction As a design agency with a 14 year track record in financial reporting, we’ve worked with companies across a wide variety of sectors and listings on their printed and online annual reports – building up a huge bank of experience on how to deliver effective, creative design solutions.
  3. 3. The introduction of the default to electronic communications with shareholders has generated opportunities and challenges. An online annual report can provide a lively and informative way to bring your annual report to life, reducing print runs and presenting the expanding volume of information required in a more accessible format. However, we are Steve Kemp still in a period of transition and many Director shareholders still want to receive a hard copy annual report leaving companies with potentially two projects to complete – in the same tight timescales with the same limited resources. So, for many smaller companies, a well structured and designed printed annual report supported by a PDF on the investor website is a sensible option. We have a genuine passion for interpreting our clients’ business stories through clear, engaging design and messaging, and we believe that this is the most important aspect of financial reporting – whatever the medium. That said – it’s a fast changing world and a strong online presence is essential to effective shareholder communications, so this booklet is a collection of some initial thoughts which aim to help you with your online reporting. We’d be delighted to discuss these further with you.
  4. 4. Top Tips Our top ten tips Break down long blocks of text Plan on making the report as clear and intuitive as possible to navigate by adding in quick links to other relevant into shorter sections sections. Also add a search facility on with sub-headings to each page to help visitors move around To b make them easier to u the site quickly to find a specific repo ild a n en read on screen. Make sure there is a r g sta n d t tha t m a g in g onl piece of information or follow ‘ rinter friendly pages’ p e in th e b a rds, sta ets best e a nnua l a particular theme. feature including the r pro c eg inn in g o t pla nn in pra ctice option to print sections. e g eigh t ss. You f your a n for this w eek n eed n onlin s fo to a l ua l repo a t e l r en ou a nnua l r r a full H ow a rou t g e nd a n d t h time fo port to TML estin g g bef r con ten ua ra n tee ore it t lo a Consider including PDF g o es din g live. stitcher functionality to allow users to customise Take full advantage of the their own annual report. For a more cost effective, functional option, medium - present data in consider producing an HTML multiple formats, consider front section, with the video for commentary on financials in PDF form. the results by the CEO or Chairman, allow access D on to a glossary from within onl ’ t for the text and include a i Adopt a multi-channel n ee n e a nn g et th download centre for each strategy for your reporting a cc ds to ua l re a t th e f section. Do not provide to make sure the content as essibil ollow port you i over-complex functionality for your online and printed r m ty sta th e sa a in n that has no use to versions is consistent. w e b da rds m e Make sure every section and site page can be read out of order your target audience. Layout, however, . – website visitors will browse does not have to information rather than read be identical. through sequentially, so cross referencing, use of breadcrumb trails to highlight location and a well-thought-out structure are all important ways of facilitating this.
  5. 5. Glossary Understanding Landing page Website accessibility The main menu page or introductory To comply with UK legislation, all page of a new section. Tracking shows websites must be fully accessible the language that landing pages experience heavy for equal access to information and traffic, with users spending the most services to all users, including those amount of time on these pages, so make with visual, hearing, cognitive and sure that they are particularly impactful. motor impairments. An example is of online reporting PDF stitcher A PDF stitcher allows the user to build providing the transcript to a webcast presentation to ensure that deaf people can access the content. or ‘stitch’ together the sections of the online annual report that they would Web analytics like as a single PDF. Customising An advantage of having an online HTML the annual report in this way offers annual report is that you can track flexibility and increased usability. which web pages are looked at most by using web analytics software. RSS content feeds Anchor links Browser Really Simple Syndication (RSS) XBRL Hyperlinks that go to a specific area Ensure that your website works feeds are web feed formats that XBRL stands for eXtensible Business in a web page, making it easy for the for different internet browsers make it easy for users to keep in Reporting Language. Rather than treating user to navigate information quickly. (especially Firefox, Internet touch with you by alerting them financial information as e.g. an internet Explorer and Google Chrome). when information is updated. page or a printed document, it provides Audio / video webcasts an identifying tag for each individual item ‘Broadcasting’ over the internet allows Intuitive information Search engine optimisation of data, which is computer readable. you to provide a wider audience with architecture / Usability Ensure maximum exposure to your This makes the preparation, analysis and access to presentations and shareholder The way the content in your online online report by optimising the content communication of business information meetings. It’s also a useful way to annual report is ordered and therefore for search engines so that it appears far more efficient, accurate and reliable. communicate with investors outside searched is imperative to a good online at top of page rankings. Choose a the standard financial calendar. annual report. It is advisable to include straightforward URL name, such multiple ways of navigation, such as as http://www.annualreport2009. Breadcrumb trail the search function, quick links, ‘email company, which uses a sub-domain of Including a breadcrumb trail at the to a friend’, print and download. the main website; or http://company. top of each page (e.g. Home > Annual com/ar_2009/, where it is simply Report > Corporate Governance> another section of the website. Remuneration Report) helps visitors to navigate your online report more easily.
  6. 6. Information resources We’ve included some Excellent ‘best practice’ guides useful sources of additional information. Guidelines on web accessibility webdesign/accessibility Web auditing, benchmarking and certification Measuring website effectiveness
  7. 7. Projects Low & Bonar Extensive internal links make navigating the online annual report comparable to browsing through a printed version. Remember you won’t have page numbers, so replace these with appropriate words and hyperlinks to aid navigation within the site.
  8. 8. Spectris Graphs are a highly effective and engaging way of communicating key facts and figures, as well as complex information.
  9. 9. Projects CompuGROUP It is recommended that you sign off the site map as early as possible when creating dual language online annual reports to ensure that enough space is available to accommodate different word lengths, e.g. English versus German.
  10. 10. Vedanta Imagery is a powerful tool to help communicate the company’s values.
  11. 11. Projects Simple navigation makes the online annual report as user-friendly as possible.
  12. 12. Mecom A full download centre makes it easy for users to take away the sections they need.
  13. 13. Projects Northumbrian Water Group Anchor links make complex information easily accessible.
  14. 14. Cairn Energy Selective functionality, such as interactive maps, can really bring the online annual report to life.
  15. 15. Emperor Design London Edinburgh Steve Kemp Neil Reynolds Zetland House 32 Castle Street 5-25 Scrutton Street Edinburgh London EH2 3HT EC2A 4HJ T: +44 (0)131 220 7990 T: +44 (0)20 7729 9090 F: +44 (0)131 220 7999 F: +44 (0)20 7729 9091 Birmingham Claire Forrest Studio 11 The Cogent Works 50/54 St Paul’s Square Birmingham B3 1QS T: +44 (0)121 262 3830 F: +44 (0)121 262 3839