We are working with Arena Group on a small campaign to encourage more lawyers to store documents electronically and destroy their old paper files.
I’ve been doing some research for this and can’t help noting an irony. I found a number of reports on business attitudes to electronic document storage, such as the one by Ricoh.
These are all quite detailed reports and I found myself pressing the print button to read them in the evening. When I collected them from the printer, I couldn’t believe how much paper I’d just printed out. But what really hit me was how badly designed the reports are for website use and how much unnecessary paper they take.
As a result, I’ve produced a set of guidelines for the next time a client has a report they want to put on a website
1. Documents on websites should not be treated the same as a brochure design for printing
2. Unless the document is a one-page summary, accept most people will print your document out
3. Don’t waste pages of the design with front covers, blank interleaves, frontispieces and back pages which have no more than your address in the bottom right corner
4. Design the layout to be easy to read and annotate – but don’t leave more empty space than is needed to break up copy
5. Definitely don’t do a whole page with just one photo on
6. The front page can have a clean ‘front design’ but pack it with content as well. Get all the frilly bits into as short a space as possible
Hopefully with better design we can all save a few more forests.