May 18, 2022

Scholarly Publishing: Elsevier Designers On “Designing the Article of the Future”

Here’s a new extended blog post loaded with screenshots and charts by Dr. Elena Zudilova-Seinstra from the “Article of the Future” User Design Group at Elsevier.

The ongoing Article of the Future project began several years ago.

In her post Zudilova-Seinstra discusses how the group developed the layout now being used for all articles delivered via Elsevier’s Science Direct database.

From the Post:

Through one-to-one user interviews, group discussions. and observations, usability tests and on-site visits, we gathered in-depth knowledge of user needs and workflows for each field. Our main goal was to offer new content and tools that would help researchers in their specific scientific needs, hence avoiding the “one-size-fits-all” solution. After Cell Press demonstrated initial concepts for life sciences and got feedback from the scientific community, 13 new prototypes were created for seven new subject domains.

More than 150 researchers, authors, publishers and editors participated in the project. They suggested various ideas of how articles in their research field could be improved taking full advantage of today’s online capabilities. The most interesting ideas were prototyped by our team. Prototypes varied from simple sketches to complete functioning systems. All ideas and prototypes were discussed and evaluated in online user forums set up for each domain.


From the very first stages to the end of the project, reliable and structured user feedback was used to drive the direction for the Article of the Future design. Our findings clearly indicated that there is a definite need for discipline-specific improvements, but also that scientists plainly love their traditional PDF format. In fact, scientists use the PDF to store and organize articles, make annotations while reading, quote by referring to a specific page, and mail articles to colleagues. Finally, the PDF article format prints and reads much easier than the current online versions

MUCH More In the Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.