Styling audit reports for credibility

A quote from my boss about something we’ve been thinking about in regards for audit reports that could potentially be used by solicitors and other legals in court:

“It should look pretty and professional rather than being a
text document – crazy as it may sound in my experience this gives it more
credibility with non-technical people who will be using it.”

I tend to agree to some extent. Any thoughts? Have you ever read anythng in this subject?

I would be inclined to say keep it simple.

Don’t use the basic font, choose something easy to read (maybe varieties for on screen and print) and professional. Use white space well, lay things out nicely and easy to read, proper headings etc.

I wouldn’t go crazy with styling as this will make the data harder to read.

If the data can be charted (and this makes it easier to interpret) then do simple charts. But make sure they are easily read and can’t be misinterpreted.

Don’t turn it into an infographic!

Hope this helps!

It’s an audit in the sense of a log of actions

1 Time - What user did - other info
2 Time - What user did - other info
3 Time - What user did - other info
4 Time - What user did - other info…

So no infographics, charts or fancy stuff just rows of pretty boring but legaly necessary data.

Ah ok. I would stick to my original suggestion then, a professional and readable font, white space and headings.

Alternatively, could it be displayed as a timeline? A bit like a gant chart? Especially nice if there are overlaps in the times things happened?

There shouldn’t be overlaps though I like the idea. It is a simple list of actions such as logged in/out, added user, placed order etc that could be presented in a court of law if ever needed or simply to solve arguments if a customer ever claims that they haven’t done something they clearly have.

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