Dear Zoo & Friends

My role

Pan Macmillan on behalf of author Rod Campbell, approached us to bring his series of books to life.  

We first sat down with the publisher and author discussing the goal of this new website. Having brainstormed as a team, Rod was strong in his opinion, that this website must reflect the same style as his illustrated books. Being super easy to use and teach the users (children) something.  But, the publisher wanted to make sure this site promoted "Dear Zoo". Giving the user the opportunity to buy online and was super SEO friendly.

Back in the office with notes and a huge pile of Dear Zoo books, we got to work with very simple wireframes and a sitemap. We then ran through these documents with the publisher over a shared screen. A few tweaks were required after the initial presentation but nothing major.

Dear Zoo - Sitemap
Dear Zoo - Home Page Wireframe

After agreeing on the wireframes and sitemap, the publisher and I  agreed that showing these to the client wouldn't be productive. Thus, before arranging to meet with Rod a second time, we decided to spend time adding colour and instructions to help Rod see what we had planned.

I decided to use the pop-up selection of books as inspiration for the Dear Zoo website. Using this animation style and movement would engage children whilst keeping the parents entertained.

Dear Zoo - Book Detail Design
Dear Zoo - Newsletter Sign Up Design

With feedback from Rod positive, I iterated with the publisher until the design was spot on. The website launched over 6 weeks later,  with six sprints, constant feedback loops between me and the developers.


The new website went on to increase users by 236% and pushed users to retailers successfully. James Luscombe from PanMacmillan said:

"We've created a site that is used frequently by parents and teachers with children so that they can learn and play together. The new site has been very well-received. We’ve had great feedback. The website perfectly reflects the original story created by Rod Campbell in 1982."

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