Thomson Reuters issues 1-page online annual report

WHAT to make of Thomson Reuters’ 2010 online annual report when it’s just one web page containing a disjointed letter to shareholders and a labyrinth of links and JavaScript activated videos, charts, tables and slideshows?

Thomson Reuters 2010 online annual reportIt’s certainly different — and memorable, which is probably more than you can say about most online annual reports. But effective? I don’t think so because I must have spent an hour fiddling around on the thing and learned nothing. I can’t recount a single fact about the company as I write this. I’m just confused and disoriented.

In the letter, the writers say, “In an increasingly noisy world, Thomson Reuters improves the signal-to-noise ratio for professionals around the globe.” If they mean that to apply to the report page, it’s very funny.

But I’m not their intended audience. I approach these things differently to most people. I see the underlying technology, the lack of usability, the obvious plugs for Reuters Insider, the lack of social features or embeds, text in images that I can’t do anything with, no search, and the obvious printing problems. I think of the SEC’s requirements for annual reports and proxy statements and wonder…

Other people (normal ones) don’t see these things. They see the funky features and go “wow!” Until they actually need to do something with the report page. That’s when they just leave. Quietly.

There’s possibly one saving grace, however. Over on the new Reuters Knowledge Effect blog they say:

“Over the course of this week we’ll bring you a series of stories in text, video and photos based on this report. This series will provide you with a unique opportunity to meet our leadership, hear about our new products, businesses and initiatives, and review our financial performance.

We hope you’ll find it an informative and engaging way to learn more about our company, and we welcome your comments and questions.”

Blog posts! Now that’s something more traditional that I can get my head around.

Seriously, though, it’s worth checking out:

Dominic Jones

Dominic Jones (bio) created IR Web Report in 2001. He is a consultant to leading public companies and investor relations service providers worldwide. You can contact him via the contacts page.