Macmillan Publishing

Quick And Dirty Tips

Today, Quick and Dirty Tips, a Macmillan Holdings property, creates and distributes digital content that offers short, actionable advice from friendly and informed authorities that will help people in life. This wasn't always the case. In 2013 they were in need of an update, and their ask was straight forward - how do we drive traffic, increase engagement, and ultimately increase revenue generation from this property?

My Role

I led Macmillan stakeholders through discovery and ideation - helping them redefine the site architecture and user experience across devices.

From Podcasts to Digital Content

Prior to 2013, Quick And Dirty Tips was primarily a destination where users could download free podcasts. The problem? Podcasts don’t have ads. Our opportunity laid in our ability to change from an archive of podcasts to an online how-to guide.

Customer Insights

We investigated site traffic patterns, and set goals for what we wanted to change. We created and distributed a survey to top customers and we interviewed site content creators on ways they felt the site could improve.

Digging Through the Content

My earliest design challenge was to propose how we would organize content so it made sense to users searching for information. Prior to my work, content on QDT was organized by site ‘avatar.’ Our research told us that that was not how people were using the site. 80% of the people were arriving to QDT by searching topics as opposed to avatar. So, I changed the site architecture to make it more discoverable.

Making it Discoverable

While thinking about organizing the content, I had to think about how it was going to be displayed. We recommended an interface rich with imagery and suggested using real-life personalities instead of avatars…all to give users a deeper connection with the content and its authors. I introduced the 'most popular' and ‘recommendation’ widgets to promote recirculation throughout the site. Finally, I introduced social elements to promote conversation on and off the site.

The Results

Following relaunch, user engagement and traffic on the Quick and Dirty Tips site went through the roof. Within just a few months, the number of unique visitors increased nearly 28% to about 3.7 million, as compared to the same time the previous year. There was also a sizable 47% uptick in the average number of monthly page views. By the end of 2013 mobile visits increased by 75% and they now make up between 35 and 40% of all traffic to the QDT site.


"We are able to surface so much more in the way of content and engage people way beyond the answer to their initial question.”



-Kathy Doyle, Senior Director, MacMillan Publishing

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