ASTM’s New and Expanded Compass Platform

Your place for standards and more.


It’s a year of new beginnings and upgraded digital experiences, and ASTM Compass is no exception. The look and functionality of the platform have been updated, making it more powerful, easier to use, and even more of a resource for customers.

Because, if you know ASTM, you know Compass.

The digital platform that provides 24/7 online access to the content developed by ASTM International’s worldwide network of experts, Compass makes it easy to find and order standards across multiple industries. You can instantly access any of ASTM’s 12,000+ standards, as well as AASHTO, AATCC, API,1 and Honeywell UOP standards whenever and wherever you need them, along with more than 1,500 books and some 47,000 articles and papers. It’s one of the most comprehensive libraries of technical information available in the world. And it’s getting better.

“We’ve been working with a UX/UI [user experience/user interface] design company since 2019, and they came in and did about nine months of research on how both domestic and international users are using Compass,” says Lisa Palmer, product manager in charge of Compass. “We tested the entire system using both quantitative and qualitative methods to really get a feel for how everyone was using it. Compass hadn't been redesigned in over five years, so this was the perfect time to build it out again to make it more responsive to how people were really using it.”

What has changed? Just about everything.

A new interface: The Compass homepage is now designed to look and feel like a personalized experience every time you log in. As a user, you can now see everything you’ve recently viewed or accessed, whether it was you personally or someone else within your organization, and you can quickly access all your subscriptions directly. Users can also now set bookmarks and alerts for any standards they’re tracking, all readily available on the homepage. Search for standards by topic, industry, committee, and more.

Updated tools: The design team found that many Compass users weren’t aware of the different search and organization tools that were available to them, so these have been moved to a new “Tips & Tricks” area that’s front and center on the homepage. All you have to do is click on a tip, learn something new about the platform, and a fresh tip will pop up once you’re done. It’s a simpler, more streamlined way for both new and experienced users to learn more about using Compass to its full potential.

Mobile access: Remote access to standards has never been more important with so many people working from home and travel starting up. Compass can now be accessed from anywhere — at the jobsite, a committee meeting, a conference, or otherwise out of the office — via mobile device, for the first time.

This is a more interactive, flexible way to access and use ASTM standards. Users can still annotate documents, create working groups with colleagues, and track standards to receive notifications as they are updated. Now it’s in a more user-friendly format.

And the overall advantages of Compass haven’t changed.

By opening up electronic access to every ASTM standard and other documentation, the platform makes it easy to access this information from anywhere, at any time. That has been critical during the last year+ of pandemic-related lockdowns, with many people working remotely. This access remains a differentiating feature of Compass that offers a distinct advantage to ASTM users. It is also a great way to collaborate with others as standards change and evolve. Unlike sharing printed versions, having everything accessible online makes it easy for members to work together on standards and implementation, all while remaining up to date on the latest versions.

This update is just the start. According to Palmer, the user research project is continuing, and ASTM has a roadmap in place for Compass that extends to 2023 and beyond.

“This is just the starting point of what we want to accomplish,” she says. “We’re going to continue to move Compass toward full ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance, which is a huge goal for us, as well as offering more interactive capabilities and customization tools. So far, though, the feedback we’ve received has been really positive and everyone is enjoying the more user-friendly features. Look for more going forward.” 

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1. AASHTO, AATCC, API: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, American Petroleum Institute.

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