Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… The University of Western Australia: Easy-to-Read Annual Report… 14 September 2018

Annual Report Unicorn: Easy-to-scan format and easy-to-read contents

University of Western Australia Annual ReportThe search this week for an Annual Report to use as the Link of the Week took me to over 60 examples in Australia, Canada, the U.K and the U.S. Just as I was about to turn back in what had become a unicorn hunt… I came upon the annual report page for The University of Western Australia.

Nearly all the annual report pages visited offer years of annual reports in a PDF format. Downloading and page flipping (and often page enlarging to escape from the small font used in the print publication) just about guarantees that almost nobody will read these publications online. Most definitely not web friendly.

A few annual reports pages feature “modern” web design to highlight major PR stories the school wishes to promote. But getting into the expected content of an annual report is still a challenge. And usually requires a PDF download.

That’s a pity. Done correctly, the content of an annual report might indeed be of interest to potential donors, foundations, legislators, and anyone else looking for recent background information. And yes, Virginia, some people would just as soon do this online as in the printed copies that end up as PDFs.

You can’t miss 3 primary headings and the links under each…

The University of Western Australia stands out as an exception. As the “Annual Report” page opens you’ll immediately see the “2017 Annual Report” and 3 primary headings:

  • Our Year… with 10 links
  • Our University… with 9 links (easy to skip “Mission, vision, and objectives” if you want.)
  • Our Performance… 10 links (includes “Media and advertising expenditure” for marketers.)

A easy-to-scan drop down menu opens under each heading, permitting visitors to rapidly move to the content areas of most interest. Be sure to open those menus when you visit.

An added feature… just below the 2017 Annual Report are similar links to the annual reports for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Nicely done.

If you insist on a PDF version those are provided as well. The 2017 Annual Report is 162 pages. Be warned, some of the stat charts are in a vertical format. Some are horizontal. Best to stay with the regular web content.

A final point… we obviously have not made as much progress as I thought on the “ban PDFs for substantive content” movement.

On Mobile…

Google Test My Site gives the rankings page a “Poor” 10 second mobile download time, with an estimated visitor loss of 29 percent.

Follow the Link of the Week…

See how one university achieved unicorn status by providing online annual reports that are easy to explore for topics of major interest to various visitors. Interests will differ from one person to the next. Let people explore as the wish. The University of Western Australia accommodates that interest on the Annual Report page.

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