Redesigning Quietly’s Content Creation Tools

Over the last year, we shifted away from a consumer-facing network of list-based content to professional tools for publishers looking to enhance their site’s content with Quietly’s interactive and measurable tools. Yes, it’s been a big change. As a result, we’ve had to evolve our authoring experience and offer additional ways of displaying content. Moreover, content created in Quietly gets embedded onto other websites—not just our own—so making that workflow simple and smooth is key. It’s not just about new features though, we’re reducing friction along the way too.

All of this translated into an important brief: we needed to redesign our product from the ground up and we had a few goals in mind:

  1. Be intuitive. At first we loved the idea of being able to input content one way, and display the output in many different ways. But then we realized there was a disconnect between the “creation” and the “result”. People were creating lists, but viewing a slideshow or an interactive map and getting confused. No bueno. So, we set out to make people quickly understand what kind of content they can create in Quietly, and make it obviously easy for them to do it. Can you say “WYSIWYG”?
  2. Be instructive. Onboarding is helpful. Essentially, we wanted to guide users but also stay out of their way if they know what they’re doing. And in our case we’re dealing with savvy and sophisticated users. We decided to give some instruction on this new design but kept it short, sweet, and temporary.
  3. Remain flexible. Everyone has a different approach to creating content. Some people create a quick outline first and then fill in the rest. Others complete it one chronological step at a time. We embraced this diversity and ensured that our workflow allowed for all authoring habits.
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel. We’re always dreaming up new and inventive ways of creating visual and interactive content but we certainly don’t work in a vacuum. We look for best practices and we study best-in-class examples. The venerable favorites like Keynote, PowerPoint, SlideShare and Tumblr are actually great inspiration because of they’ve proven their user experiences over time.
  5. Mobile first. We all love creating content on a 27” iMac (who doesn’t?) but the reality is that most readers are consuming content on a mobile phone. We set out to show publishers how people actually consume their content (on small screen) while they’re creating it (on the big screen).
  6. Ready for change. The product must scale with our business. We’re adding new display options every month which means our in-app real estate is both precious and strategic.

These goals were challenging but fun. Since we use an iterative approach, we can adjust and improve as we go. It may take some time to get used to, but we’ve been hard at work and we’re confident that you’ll appreciate our new and improved design. And if you don’t please let us know—we love all kinds of feedback.

So here’s to Quietly 2.0, the road ahead and the community of people who support us!


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