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4 reasons to ‘go digital’ for your next report

Long-form reports are important. Whether it’s a corporate document that holds an organisation to account or a summary of research findings that will change lives, sometimes it’s essential that we tell the whole story.
Hollie Newborough-Fox

Hollie Newborough-Fox

3 minute read
May 9, 2024
Long-form reports are important. Whether it’s a corporate document that holds an organisation to account or a summary of research findings that will change lives, sometimes it’s essential that we tell the whole story.
4 reasons to ‘go digital’ for your next report Image

While the humble PDF continues to serve us well, we are increasingly asked to make it something it’s inherently not: interactive.

Here’s why a digital approach could be the answer you’ve been looking for…


Accessibility is a given

Making sure your information is accessible and inclusive shouldn’t be an afterthought. This is especially true for anything published within the public sector – which needs to meet accessibility guidelines to WCAG 2.2 AA standards. While PDFs can be made technically accessible and compatible with screen readers - with the right software and know-how - content hosted online is already primed for accessibility and adaptive technologies.

Digital documents can be optimised to suit the reader with dark modes, bigger text sizes and text descriptions for images. They’re also responsive to different devices, which is something you simply can’t achieve with PDF.


The cost of print (on purses and the planet)

Some projects call for a practical or material option, but if a printed report has simply become your default way to communicate, it might be time to start asking why.

Utilities, paper and postage costs have been rapidly growing over the last year, forcing print companies to increase their prices to keep up with their immense overheads. This, along with the need for organisations to embrace more sustainable practices, means that excess printing is hard to justify.

A digital document allows you to create something professional without the financial and environmental impact of a printed PDF. There’s also an interesting case to be made for the fact PDF, even when accessed digitally, requires higher data transference than HTML format – and higher data transference equals more CO2 emitted.




A tailored, engaging experience

When you have a broad spectrum of interested parties, whether that’s policy makers, shareholders, senior colleagues, students or your next-door neighbour, it poses a unique challenge to point them in the right direction. Sure, you can’t please everybody, but you can certainly design your content to meet your audiences’ needs.

With a digital approach, you can build an experience that’s tailored to the different segments of your audience. Start with the headlines and key messages before inviting people to ‘read more’ with a drop down, pop-ups, pull-outs, or a simple scroll.

We recently worked with one of our clients to create an online report using our digital document solution, Unbound. We established three key audiences for their document – ‘Skimmers’, ‘Swimmers’ and ‘Deep Divers’ - and tailored the pages with the different users in mind. We started each page with a summary and key take-aways, followed by a chapter overview, and concluded with the option to read the full section of the report.

An interactive, experience with consideration for user experience and journey can feel a lot less overwhelming and far more engaging than a 200-page printed booklet. A document hosted online can be optimised to suit different devices and gives you the ability to bring your content to life with videos, polls or interactive infographics.


Measuring success

Once your report is published – then what? How do you know what resonated with people or what’s being neglected? Digital documents allow you to report on engagement and give you a clearer picture of the user journey.

As part of our digital document solution, Unbound, we include a dashboard of key stats so you can track page visits, clicks and more.

As well as being able to report on performance, collecting relevant user data can help you to make better marketing decisions in the future too.


Let’s put a stop to PDF’s inevitable identity crisis, and consider something new…

If you’re ready to explore a digital format for your next report, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to get you started...

Discover Unbound by Eleven by clicking here.