Factors affecting choice.
The particular needs of the user, if a user is partially sighted or blind then information will be more likely to be presented in audio.
The complexity of the information, can be explained better pictorially figures can be presented as graphs and charts so that comparisons can be made and trends can be spotted.
Whether the material is to be presented on-line as animations and video can be added to multimedia presentations or websites.
Time to study.
Material which needs to be studied at length needs to be hard copied.
The nature and complexity of information.
Some information is easy to understand and quick to read. Information of this sort can be presented on the screen. Lists of tabulated information such as the sales figures for every month over the last five years, are complex and need quite a bit of analysis in order to understand them. This information would be best printed out and then studied to identify trends etc. Complex information can be further processed to produce reports containing graphs, findings etc.
The needs of the recipient.
The person who has asked for information is not always the same person that actually does the searching for it. In many cases a manager will ask a member of their staff to find information and report back. It is therefore essential that the person who conducts the search for the information understands the purpose of the information and how it will be used. The supplier of the information must therefore bear in mind the needs of the recipient.
Lifespan of information.
Some information changes by the minute or even the second such as share prices, currency prices and commodities such as oil and gas. Even the prices in a supermarket can change as the price increases from suppliers are passed onto customers.
The lifespan of some information is short and it is important to use a medium for this information that can react almost instantaneously to the changing information. Websites and online systems are the best solution for information that is changing regularly. Stock lists printed out on paper will only represent stock at the time of the printout. It is always important that any reports and other printouts contain a date, otherwise you would not be able to trust the information they contain.