When planning a layman’s report, it is always instructive to look at good examples of existing reports to see how the authors have succeeded in presenting the results of their projects in an attractive and accessible way. Below are several examples of good practice and the engaging techniques that they have used:
Some projects might seem to lend themselves to visual representation easier than others – for example, a bear conservation project can use action pictures of the animal – but with ingenuity arresting images can be found, as the ATMOSYS report exemplified. Its cover illustration shows that the project, which improved access to air-quality information, was a way of ‘completing the environment picture’.
This Spanish bear conservation project produced a dual-language layman’s report in Spanish and English – but avoided any confusion by using a light tan background for the English text. Using tinted boxes, the project demonstrates, can add both style and clarity.
Great use of photography can really lift a report and entice potential readers. The Futurescapes layman’s report features an abundance of colourful pictures to highlight the importance of its sustainability message.
SAFE ISLANDS FOR SEABIRDS
Photography can also be used well as background, as was demonstrated by this Portuguese project’s report. Clear text boxes can be mounted on top of pictures, particularly if the picture is ‘spacey’ – for example, in the seabirds’ project case, the selected picture contains unbroken stretches of sea and sky.
The layman’s report used a range of infographics to present the results of the project in a concise and engaging way. Along with fact boxes and graphs, it used pie charts to show the environmental impact of books and how it can be improved.
Maps are another way in which data can be shown visually. The report of the PISCES project, which targeted the sustainable management of the Celtic Sea, devoted a page to a map of the British Isles and France to show the area of focus of the project.
BPSB LIFE+ SAVE THE RAPTORS
The main achievements of the Bulgarian raptor conservation project were clearly outlined in the layman’s report through the use of bullet points and bold type. Casual readers can get a succinct picture of what the project was about in a quick and easy way.
Examples of good communication