I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m quite sure I’m not the only one who dreads reading reports. The word report has struck fear into the hearts of most since childhood – report cards, book reports, etc. And when we become adults, there are performance reports, analytic reports, etc.
We all know that reports should be informative, clear and as succinct as possible. But, we have also become infused with the idea that this means boring. There is good news though. With the popularity of data visualizations and infographics, this belief is slowly changing. You will see for yourself the examples I’m about to give you.
More and more creative reports are popping up each day. We have scoured the web and picked up a few examples along the way which we think makes great case studies. Based on the observation of these reports, here are four ways to make reports that people actually want to read.
(Tip: click on the visuals to see more of the reports)
1. Use less text, more visuals
Unlike conventional reports, brands that embrace the power of visual imagery create reports with fewer words and more graphics. Now, even executive summaries come with an illustration. Here’s an example of visualized executive summary of the 2013 Youth Outcomes Report Summary by BBBS America .
In this example, you can see that information that would have otherwise been placed as boring bullet points is now laid out in a visually appealing way. You can get a full grasp of the message through concise pieces of information presented visually. It’s perfect for the busy executive who doesn’t have the time (or sometimes, the desire), to pour over stacks of reports throughout their day.
2. Use a combination of chart, text, and images
To illustrate your points better, you should use a combination of photos, charts, visual representations of concepts, or annotated screenshots (or even comics) to go together with your text. This way, your readers will not just understand, but remember your message. This combination will also help those who learn through imagery more so than reading.
Take the following earthquake report from BBC News for example. Among the many things done right with this report is the accompanying photos of the impacted areas. Instead of just dry statistical reports, the photos clearly painted the aftermath of the earthquake.
Visualizing information, like the map above, also allows you to include information that would have been hard to write out. For example, a text-based article might list the primary cities and provinces affected by the earthquake. The map, however, allows people to see whether they or their loved ones are in an affected zones without having to list each individual city, town, or street.
3. Make animated reports
There are a few ways to animate your report and create engaging content. Some ideas to bring your report to life are videos, GIFs, or cartoons and animations. With the right coding, your animated report could even become a “choose your own adventure” story simply by giving people the choice of where they want to go next when consuming your data.
Consider the following infographic video as an example.
And then, there’s the engaging interactive reports that make your readers determine (in a way) how they view the content. Consider Airbnb’s annual report that simply makes you want to read right up till the end. And maybe even share it for the warm, fuzzy feeling it gives you.
Notice how you can view the history of Airbnb expansion gradually by changing the timeframe.
Speaking of which, here’s one cool interactive report that got our eyes glued onto the screen for a bit.
But, as I was thinking about the previous point, I think it would be even greater to add in some of the tweets by the map as the timeline changes. Thinking of out of the box ways to add interactivity to your reports will make the data richer and more valuable to your audience.
For visual learners, these reports can help them quickly associate the topic at hand with how it is applicable.
4. Use unconventional but fun statistics
By way of spicing up your reports, you can consider adding unconventional, fun statistics that is insightful. Consider Nicholas Felton’s unorthodox statistics. He spends much of his time thinking about data, charts, and our daily routines. The following is an example of his communication data. You can find more of his Personal Annual Reports at feltron.com.
If you can lure people’s attention in with interesting statistics, presented visually, you can continue to hold their engagement while presenting the rest of your research. It’s just a matter of making sure that you present your research in a way that won’t turn readers into snoozers.
Do you know you can create Report Infographics using Piktochart? Check out the available Report Infographics templates from the Piktochart Report theme collection and bring your reports to life today!