African Economic Outlook

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a major international economic organisation providing a forum for its partner countries to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and co-ordinate domestic and international policies of its members, making use of publications to achieve these aims. The African Economic Outlook is a key publication of the OECD providing comprehensive and comparable data and analysis of 53 African economies and is used by governments, companies, and NGO's throughout the world.

The Brief

The African Economic Outlook was originally a 800+ page print publication. As well as being distributed throughout the world, the report needed to be distributed throughout the many countries of Africa on an annual basis, which was at times a significant challenge to achieve. The key purpose of the website was to create an online version of the publication – thereby greatly assisting with the distribution of the report throughout Africa and the world.

A secondary but equally important objective was to create a platform to allow online collaboration for the creation of the publication for both the print and online versions of the report. The platform needed to allow many authors and reviewers across many countries and time zones throughout the world to work together and complete the various aspects of the publication.

The Challenge

A major challenge of the project was to take a publication that was originally designed for print and convert and structure that content in a form that was also suitable for a website, considering that content which might work fine in print might be too short or too long in a web context, or with too many or too few headings to facilitate an easily navigable website structure. With over 800 pages of densely formatted text and graphical/tabular data – this provided a significant challenge. In addition, the OECD also wanted to take full advantage of the online nature of the new platform and to construct graphical and tabular illustrations in the print and web versions of the report created from live online data.

The website platform also needed to facilitate the sometimes frantic collaborative working on the publication in such a way that changes and additions to both the print and web versions of the publication could be integrated at the last minute and very close to the official publication date. Finally, the website and platform needed to do all this in such a way as to also allow simultaneous population and publication of the report in 3 languages with the appropriately translated content delivered on demand and with a graceful fall back to a default language when specific translations were not available.

The Result

The result was the creation of a website and online publishing platform that fulfilled the key objectives of the project and more. The resulting CMS/Website platform restructured the publication in such a way as to make it suitable for for both print and the web – and special tools were created to facilitate instant creation of print version (pdf) of the website on the fly at any point, and in any language. Graphical and tabular data on the site was created from live data streams provided by the OECD – which were integrated into both the web and print versions of the report. The CMS solution we created based on TYPO3 CMS, allowed collaborative working on the publication throughout the production cycle right up to the point of publication of both forms of the report.

As a consequence of the success of the project:

  • The project was nominated for and won the best in class award by the Interactive Media Awards (IMA) under the category 'Reference'. In addition, special reference was made by the IMA that the website achieved an overall score of 500/500 – the first ever perfect score in the 5 year history of the IMA.

  • The project was awarded a Distinction from the Communicator Awards under the Charitable category.

  • Liquid Light was further commissioned by the OECD to deliver a similar solution for the OECD publication Latin American Economic Outlook in 2010.

  • Liquid Light has on ongoing relationship with the OECD to support the annual production of both of these publications. In 2013 this included the conversion of these websites into mobile responsive websites, with the vast content of the publications made easily browsable on mobile phones and tablets - further supporting the objectives of the OECD to distribute this key information throughout Africa and the world.  

Visit African Economic Outlook