Waka Wang

Best in class examples of online reporting from award winning clients

In today’s highly crowded digital landscape, companies now find themselves competing with not only each other, but also with consumers and other internet users to get their stories heard by their target audiences. However, if done efficiently, it also provides ample opportunities to connect and engage with diverse stakeholders, and gain insightful user data in return. 


4 Major trends in online reporting for 2018/19 

This year at the Corporate & Financial Awards 2018, our clients - Schroders, G4S, Taylor Wimpey and the Adecco Group - won a total of 4 awards for the Best Online Report for FTSE 100 and International categories. While these awards marked a big success for Black Sun, they also shed light on some key trends among leading online reports.

  1. Consistency without duplication: a clear shift away from duplicating the same content from annual reports onto websites
  2. Enriching content: creating dynamic content through videos, animations and infographics
  3. Delivering the key messages: more focus on getting the most important and relevant messages across, while also creating a seamless transition to the full report where users can delve into further details
  4. Clear navigation: users’ interaction with content is enhanced and streamlined through sophisticated user experience design


What does good look like?


For shareholders and prospective investors who are always on the move, mobile devices are increasingly becoming the key method to access websites quickly and effortlessly. So it is important that your online report provides the most crucial and relevant information for your audiences without overwhelming them with information fatigue.

Schroders’ online report clearly helps readers save time and get straight to the point, as the site focuses on key messages while also making it easy to download relevant sections of the annual report for further details. For instance, the ‘Leadership’ section features an engaging video of the CEO discussing financial highlights, and also provides clear links for users to download the full CEO review in a PDF format. Another interesting feature of the site is the innovative use of sliders to present key performance indicators – what they measure and how they performed - without overwhelming the users with too much information.

--“Clear and effective summary of performance and strategic priorities” (Judges’ comments)



Taylor Wimpey plc 

Taylor Wimpey plc’s online report leverages navigable and intuitive design elements to communicate the most material information from their 2017 annual report. The content is clearly structured by key sections, addressing frequently asked questions like ‘how we preformed, what’s the investment case and our strategy’, all of which effectively guide visitors to information that interests them.  The ‘view from the top section’ includes an engaging CEO’s video, while the ‘where we operate section’ includes a fun interactive map that outlines their geographical reach and profits by region. The ‘business model section’ uses an intuitive accordion layout to display the most critical information first, while also providing an option for users to access more detailed information on what they do and value created for stakeholders with single click.   

--“An engaging and navigable site, with a good use of video for the CEO summary” (Judges’ comments)




Digital reporting is a powerful tool to amplify corporate story through engaging content. The impact of visuals such as infographics, animations and illustrations in digital reporting cannot be understated, as they not only capture users’ attention, but also aid readability and provide further clarity to the narrative. G4S’s online integrated report is an excellent example - its distinctive use of illustrations and animation differentiates their brand and effectively brings their narrative to life. For their online report webpage, Black Sun created a video featuring animated illustrations to articulate their business model and investment case in a more impactful way. The site also uses consistent illustrations and graphics for the strategy and CSR performance sections to help users quickly identify different strategic priorities and sustainability issues.

-- “Lovely use of graphics.” “Easy to understand the company's vision, strategy and focus on performance.” (Judges’ comments)


The Adecco Group

Similar to Taylor Wimpey, the Adecco Group’s online report is structured by key sections, covering top-line information related to financial highlights, strategic agenda and the business model. The ‘2017 highlights’ section features a simple map that clearly illustrates their global operation and expandable boxes that showcase year-on-year figures. Another unique feature is the ‘business model’ section which uses time-line sliders to unfold their value-creation narrative, step-by-step. As users navigate through the sliders, they can get a good understanding of the key market trends impacting on the company, the resources they rely on, and finally, unique value they create for wider stakeholders in a very engaging way.

--“Clean design and presentation.”   (Judges’ comments)

Final thoughts 

Our examples clearly evidence the growing significance of enriching content, easy access to key information, clear navigation and interactivity in delivering annual report content successfully online. As websites become the ‘go-to’ destination for investors and wider stakeholders, companies now need to find the perfect combination of these elements to help users find the most relevant information with ease, and also capture their attention with an engaging corporate story.  

Top considerations for creating a leading digital annual report 

  • Does your online report provide key highlights without overwhelming your readers with too much information?
  • How interactive is your online content, and does it encourage your users to explore further details?
  • How easy is it for users to navigate through your online report?
  • Does your online report employ engaging and enriching content to communicate your corporate story?
  • Does your online report go beyond financial highlights to tell an inspiring story?

Find out how we can help you engage your stakeholders through reporting, corporate websites, and wider digital channels get in touch

Request a copy of our digital research here.