Our key development audiences are quite saturated with lengthy report reading…so lengthy reports are simply not as useful to stakeholders anymore. I have dealt with a few evaluation ‘condensation’ tasks in South Africa. In SA – and the rest of Africa – evaluations are multiple due to the high number of donor funded projects, as well as having a National Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation established. As organizations compete for funding, demonstrating just the key points are critical for these info-overloaded decision makers.
I recently read a useful blog post by Chris Lysy on Freshspectrum.com on the plight of the detailed report. He makes the important problem statement that: “The problem is that far too many evaluation teams and clients take the final comprehensive report as being the thing for the public.” …Exactly!
We need to simplify and re-purpose evaluation reports so that we benefit from the true value of the information it holds. Here’s where Infographics and Data viz are key.
As an avid follower of Alberto Cairo I listened to him present on BrightTALK, “Why visualization will become an universal language”. He talks about how visualization is now being used across professions and fields to convey complex and clear messages in creative, but simple ways.
Like music, visual content crosses cultural and language barriers. If this is the case then it will resolve the plight of the detailed report by providing a translation medium to digest the detail for our tired (and some lazy) evaluation report readers.