Creating a new publishing and advertising platform for an iconic Canadian publication.
Azure is an award-winning magazine with a focus on contemporary architecture and design. Since its launch in 1985, it has earned a global reputation for excellence. Its international perspective and multidisciplinary coverage — which puts architecture, interiors, products, landscapes and urbanism together in a real-world scenario make it distinct from any other publication available on newsstands.
The main challenge for Azure was that their website was not generating the ad revenue required to be sustainable. It was also an older platform that could not support Azure’s publishing strategy, current design requirements or the needs of mobile users. It also did not reflect the high standards of the print magazine.
The new Azure Magazine website needed to be redesigned to engage their readers, present selected Azure Magazine content and increase their advertising opportunities. To accomplish these goals, our team worked closely with Azure’s leadership team—starting with an in-depth strategy and planning process that established core business rules, user personas, content requirements, and advertising strategy.
The design of the new platform was established after a full wireframe prototype was developed to test functionality*. As a publishing platform, the new system has multiple levels of user-types including administrators, publishers, editors and community contributors with content requiring final editorial approval before being published. In addition to article publication, the new site also features a Competition and Events calendar, a Jobs section and and in-depth Product Guide.
As the site also needed to encourage print magazine subscriptions, a number of internal advertising components were developed to facilitate this along with a complete archive of all magazines issues available for purchase as a digital download or in print format.
Since launch, the new publishing platform has been very well received from the public through both an increase in repeat visits, social sharing of content, number of articles viewed daily and the overall length of stay.
The website has also been showcased frequently by Apple as an example of optimal user experience for desktop, tablet and mobile users, most recently as part of demo screens within Apple’s latest operating system, El Capitan.
* In collaboration with Concrete. Feature image credit © Tom Auger