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How to Make Readable Reports

How To Make Reports People Actually Want To Read

How to Make Readable Reports

A Guide on Creating Visually Stimulating Reports

You have felt it – that eye-roll-inducing sensation the moment yet another report hits your inbox. You open it but soon find yourself more confused than in algebra class, as you get lost between industry jargon and seemingly meaningless numbers.

Reports should be informative and as succinct as possible. Yet they are often boring and complicated. Well, I have news for you: You can make reports people actually want to read. And here is how:

Use a Combination of Charts, Text and Images

Charts and images are a great way to illustrate the content of your report. Using visuals to break up your report will help you capture the reader’s attention and make the content easier to understand and engage with.

That said, choose visuals that are impactful and relate to your content. Clarity outweighs design here. A well-designed report may be beautiful, but if the design deflects from the actual message and data, reading your report may be a waste of time.

So, choose charts and images that support rather than distract from your content. Use visuals to show – not just tell – your readers what your report is about. That way, the reader does not just understand but actually remember the information contained in your report.

Use an Unconventional Statistic

Just as charts and images can help grab a reader’s attention so can an unconventional stat.

Luring reader attention with an interesting statistic can boost their engagement for the remainder of your report.

Be Transparent

If there are negative findings in your data – do not hide them. Be transparent but focus on ways to improve and remain solution-oriented. Getting to the point is also a part of transparency. Make relevant data and action items stand out and easy to find.

Use Simple Fonts

Legibility is key. Choose simple fonts and make your content easy to read. Again – clarity outweighs design. A nice font may be a way to draw attention to your content or a data point. However, fancy fonts serve little purpose if they make your report hard to read.

These are just a few simple concepts that will help you create reports people want to read. It is all about creating content that is equal parts visually engaging and data-driven.

About the Author:

Yonathan Samuel is an Account Executive at ChoiceLocal. When he is not helping his partners, he enjoys traveling, playing golf and all things sneakers.

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