WE LEFT NO STONE UNTURNED when looking at how to redesign Architosh to be the world’s best CAD industry web publication for performance and readability on every type of device—from your smartphone to your tablet to your chosen weapon of choice for desktop or mobile computing.
For over five months Architosh and our developer team studied key online publication precedents, analyzed our direct competitors, scrutinized the previous site, and belabored the tiniest of details. All of this was done to reach one simple conclusion: to make Architosh the most “readable” and performant CAD/3D industry publication that we could possibly make it.
We were aware that Architosh could be faster. It is graphics intensive; we like showing high-quality images so readers can dig into screenshots of apps and see finished drawings and 3D imagery. But we cut the average download speed by well over two-thirds. (see image 01)
The previous average page download time was hovering around 0.90 seconds. The new average speed is hovering around 0.17 seconds. That’s a 5x improvement!
Of Fonts and Line Spacing. And Five Responsive Levels
The Wiki definition defines readability as “the ease with which a reader can understand a written text.” The definition has two different components, one being the complexity of the vocabulary and syntax and other its presentation regarding typographical aspects. We mean readability regarding the latter component. (see image 02)
We set out to redesign Architosh so no matter what device type you are using typographically the site is highly readable. To accomplish this, we chose all new modern fonts (two of them), each ideally created for the web. Next, we increased font size strategically across various elements of the site. But most importantly, we also increased the line spacing—a lot. (see images 02, 03, 07)
We had our developers study some of the best publications on the Internet regarding typographical readability—like The Economist.
Five Responsive Levels
Unlike many very good sites, Architosh has not three, not four but five responsive levels. The term “responsive” in web design means creating screen resolution breakpoints where CSS coding redefines typographical and page layout elements to ideally fit the resolution at hand. Five levels mean all the nuances that can occur between portrait and landscape layouts across both types of mobile devices (smartphone and tablet) are covered. It also means iOS devices that split screens for dual app usage are also accounted for. (see image 03)
As you can see from the images above and below, the new Architosh is more spacious, airy, and has that feeling across all devices. Some of our rival sites work great on desktop and laptop but are completely illegible on smartphones. Or some have good smartphone “responsive” settings but very poor tablet level settings.
The new Architosh also has some new finer details. We now use color a bit more strategically. The pale green background color in some of the story modules (yes…each topic zone on the home page is a “module”) denotes either content behind the metered paywall or exclusive content behind the paywall. (see image 04)
And we have a new quote bar which you can see in action above. (image 03) It’s beautifully “responsive” so quotes look fantastic even on small smartphones.
New Beautiful Layout
We really know how architects and other designers feel about good visual design, so a lot of effort has always gone into creating a clean, modern user-interface and user-experience (UI/UX). We have all new headers and footers—in Architosh Blue—that bookend the beginning and end of each page. (see image 05) They expand under mobile for seamless navigation and then get out of the way. We will actually be making this even better soon.
They expand under mobile for seamless navigation and then get out of the way. We will actually be making this even better soon.
The new architosh INSIDER
To better meet our publishing mission we have established a new “annual” called architosh INSIDER Report. Focused on a specific topic, each INSIDER Report consists of selected and dedicated feature articles that unfold themes, issues, technologies, and user stories. You can learn more about our first issue here.
architosh INSIDER is also a section on the new Architosh.com. (see image 06) Found in the header, architosh INSIDER is your home page for all premium content dedicated to subscribers. INSIDER membership subscription gains readers “unlimited” access to all of Architosh.com. New premium content areas include:
- App Guides — going back to Architosh’s roots, this research and education section will help readers discover and learn about new macOS CAD/CAM/AEC apps. We will also publish educational help articles. This is exclusive content just for subscribers.
- INSIDER Reports — as described above, topical reports consisting of 5-6 articles that explore a theme around a company, platform, users, technology segment, emerging set of innovations, or set of inter-related industry issues. This is exclusive content just for subscribers.
- Exclusive Features — articles written exclusively for subscribers and an elite selection of our most popular feature articles from the past.
- Unlimited News Analysis & Commentary — subscribers gain unlimited access to all news analysis and commentary articles
- Unlimited Reviews and Features — subscribers gain unlimited access to all reviews and features articles.
For all those readers who do not subscribe to INSIDER membership subscription, they still have unlimited access to all news and blog articles but now have limited access (3 articles per month) to all other types of articles.
Paying for INSIDER Access
We are committed to keeping Architosh as accessible as possible. The new design philosophy was crafted so that 95% of what readers already consume (read) monthly they will still have access to under the new metered paywall limits—and hence will not have to pay anything for what they already read.
But the new content areas—the App Guides and the new INSIDER Reports and exclusive features—are brand new segments of content that help us deliver on our mission, and thus will require subscription.
We realize that our readers are already subscribing to limited journalism online. Perhaps it is to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or The Economist. Or maybe it is a local city newspaper online. Or perhaps its a specialized academic or industry publication, like the MIT Technology Review, a publication this author happily subscribes to.
Architosh has always had unique content, specialized around Apple’s platforms in the CAD/BIM/3D/ industries we cover.
Like all those publications, readers choose—like I have—to subscribe despite the presence of advertising on the sites. And the reason is that the production of in-depth and special-interest content is far more valuable than can be monetized through display advertising alone.
Architosh has always had unique content, specialized around Apple’s platforms in the CAD/BIM/3D/ industries we cover. This journalism—around our particular focus—is impossible to find elsewhere at both the volume and quality level we provide; it has a precious value to our dedicated readers.
There are three affordable options: a “Daily” pass, a “Weekly” pass, or an “annual” subscription. Only the last option is auto-renewing.
You can pay with all the major credit cards, PayPal, Dwolla, Amazon, a TinyPass account, and even Bitcoin. Here is what it looks like. (see image 07)
As we power up on INSIDER membership-level content throughout 2018, readers may begin to notice new writers in the by-lines of articles. The ambition is to bring more voices to the publication. This has already started happening—beyond the voice of Akiko Ashley in Los Angeles and Pete Evans in the American heartland. BIM industry expert Bhushan Avsatthi, writing from India, has produced compelling Viewpoint features for years but is now also helping us generate more content in other areas.
If you have any thoughts or questions about the new Architosh and its new INSIDER membership direction, please share your feedback. We’d love to hear from you. You can post comments below or write us at [email protected].
In the meantime, do explore the new site—especially on your tablet or smartphone devices—and let us know how we are doing. Thanks to all our fans, supporters and dedicated readers.
Wishing you the best in the New Year!
Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief