We take a look at the challenges of producing the BBCs 08/09 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
When the BBC needed their 08/09 CSR report designing to not only look great in print, but work so well on the web that they wouldn’t ever need to print a copy, they came to us.
The result is a vibrant, rich document that shouts about the public purpose and impact of the BBC in every way, from great photographs to easy to understand infographics and balanced text.
With more readers digesting information digitally on screen and mobile devicies, producing a report which works online isn’t only good common sense, it’s also another important step in working towards a green BBC. Despite being one of their most important publications, no copies were printed or distributed, taking another chunk out of the beebs carbon footprint.
Producing the report
The original report was set in a format meant to be printed and wasn’t designed to be read or navigated on screen.
So the first thing we did was switch the layout to landscape A4 which fits much nicer on screen without the need to scroll. We then created a 4 column grid, splitting projects into two columns each, defining them with image regions at the top and bottom. This broke up the projects nicely while still keeping the maximum amount of information on each page.
After receiving the sample content we decided the project regions needed to be much more defined and flexible as to include bigger projects, pull quotes and links to other reports. By altering the top and bottom image regions to be full bleed and variable in height we created two defined but flexible regions which could be used in a variety of ways.
The result is a visually exciting layout that works as well on screen as it works on paper. The reader can now view two projects per ‘screen’ in easy to read chunks and immediatly flick through pages without having to scroll or zoom in and out.
Another great thing about optimising a pdf for screen viewing is the ability to link directly to sites on the web or other reports. We used a simple icon system to show the reader which links were external sites and which linked to other pages within the report.
We also included a ‘back to contents’ link on every page making it easier to flick between chapters, encouraging the reader to browse in the order they choose.
After the report was complete all pages were bookmarked allowing ease of navigation.
All content was then arranged in the correct reading order with full alternate text for graphs, tables and images making it accessible to screen readers, and more optimised for search engines. This last step is vital for people with specific accessibility needs, and provides convinient features for other readers such as bookmarks and better searching.