While developing architecture for new websites it can prove useful to survey the competition and gleam whatever wisdom might be found. In this sample I compared four sites, (rows), providing similar content as my client. Each column demonstrates each site's layout and offerings.
In the first site I've highlighted elements that promote that site's community interactions such as profile management, comments, and other features that connect users to the site and each other.
In the second column I've highlighted the site's creative features such as galleries and passive visual treats.
The third column emphasizes the features that monetize the site. In this way the client and I can easily compare which sites work hard to monetize their product and which take a quieter approach.
In the last column I've highlighted free content and other high value propositions.
Competitive studies like this are handy for developing new site frameworks as well as identifying possible features and their relative position in the site hierarchy.
This is a similar study that looks holistically at a newspaper site layout. In this study I've coded each type of content with a color to easily communicate what the site offers. With this kind of compression of content, we can quickly understand how the site uses its content to attract and retain readers.
In the final image I've taken the site's grid and reduced it to its elemental form. By translating a successful site, the client and I can better understand how similar solutions might work for our project.