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Communications shows what digital can do for annual reports

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The online version of the Department of Communications annual report is a pretty slick piece of work that aims to earn the respect of its tech-savvy stakeholders and set a new benchmark in the way government agencies present complex information.

The report was built from scratch using HTML5. Its most striking feature is its use of clever animated infographics that unfurl and click into place as you get to them. The design work is both easy on the eye and intuitive, making it as easy to read from start to finish as it is to jump around between different sections.

A screenshot from the Department of Communications annual report
A screenshot from the Department of Communications annual report

According to a manager in the department’s digital communications branch, producing the HTML report took significant investment, time and effort, but it was also a “learning experience” that can be built on next year. Given its responsibilities in the online space, it was considered important for Communications to aim high and demonstrate its digital chops:

“The department’s aim is to set the foundations to provide a seamless digital experience to our stakeholders and be seen as the digital leader within the Australian government.

“Therefore when looking at the annual report it was essential that it was user-focused, centred on creating relevant, meaningful content that our stakeholders, industry and the community can better engage with.”

As it is basically a website, it’s not something you can download. For that there is a PDF version. Or, if you’re super busy and always zipping from meeting to meeting, this year a summary version is also available for tablet computers.

That’s right, the Department of Communications has an app. It’s only out on iPads at the moment, but an Android version is coming soon, and there are reasons to download it other than just to read the annual report, we’re told:

“We will continue to produce and publish using the department’s app. Once the app is downloaded users will receive notifications when new items are released by the department. This will be a particularly useful communication mechanism for the department’s newly formed Bureau of Communications Research.”

More at The Mandarin: Document dump: online annual reports good, open data better

Author Bio

Stephen Easton

Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.