Case Study: Boxes and Arrows

Boxes and Arrows is devoted to the practice, innovation, and discussion of design; including graphic design, interaction design, information architecture and even business design. Since 2001, it’s been a peer-written journal promoting contributors who want to provoke thinking, push limits, and teach a few things along the way.

The original Boxes and Arrows design.

Much like the readership, which is comprised of more than half outside the United States, the staff is also global. We have 17 volunteer staff members — from editors to copyeditors — in five countries. With a fairly diverse set of needs from the readers and the staff, the site has been undergoing some changes over the past year.

We use Measure Map to track site analytics.

In 2004, three years after its launch, Boxes and Arrows set forth a call for entries, asking the information architecture community to redesign the site. The response was overwhelming, and in the end, the judges chose one winner and four runners up.

Of all the entries, the judges selected‘s design. We’ve been working with the designers since to establish a set of design templates that can meet the requirements of the editorial team as well as the new content management system because — along the way — we realized that our previous CMS was not able to handle our publication capacity anymore.

The selected design from

A new content management system (CMS) was clearly needed to handle our publication capacity, editorial workflow, and volunteer staff. The team crafted requirements to build a new system specifically built for an online publication. As editor-in-chief, my role is to keep the communication open, mining feedback from the staff and providing it to the development team. Today, Public Square (the name of the CMS) is successfully supporting Boxes and Arrows.

Today, the Boxes and Arrows site is still evolving. We are using the platform to slowly roll out new features that will be included with the redesign, while continuing to fine tune the CMS and design templates for a full release of the design this fall.