• Design & Build

The Gruffalo

Building an online home for The Gruffalo

The brief

The Gruffalo has a home in the deep dark wood, but publishers Pan Macmillan wanted him to have an online home too ahead of the book’s 15-year anniversary. The new website was intended to celebrate one of children’s best loved characters, where young visitors can lose themselves in The Gruffalo’s world, while encouraging them to enjoy books and reading generally. 

The solution

We created a mobile-first, online experience for children and a beautifully illustrated website for grown-ups. The site is fully interactive with lots of fun games and activities, stories, singalongs with author Julia Donaldson, and a Gruffalo shop. The website is hugely popular and has featured in several press articles. It also won Kentico’s ‘Site of the Year’ Award.

What we did

  • Digital strategy
  • User Research
  • User Experience
  • User Interface Design
70%

new visits from over 160 countries

35k

visitors on average per month

2 seconds

average page load time

+35%

traffic came from a mobile or tablet

Take a visit to the deep dark woods

Our friends at Aardman visualised the “deep dark woods” using Axel Scheffler’s beautiful illustrations to create an interactive world of mini-games and hidden surprises. It’s a visually rich environment where fans can immerse themselves and explore the world of the Gruffalo. We built the site using HTML5 and JavaScript to ensure it works across all major platforms and devices.

Creating an engaging platform

Built using Kentico EMS, the website can provide a personalised experience for every visitor, to max out on fun and engagement. The site is also easy to edit and update with new events, activities and content. And it’s hosted in the Azure cloud to make sure it can cope with spikes in traffic following successful marketing and TV campaigns.

Broad industry recognition

The new website has been incredibly well-received by users young and old, the national press and Pan Macmillan themselves (we also heard Julia likes it too!). It has received a lot of industry recognition, including features in Design Week, The Drum and Campaign, and several accolades, including Kentico’s ‘Site of the Year’ Award in 2013.

The result

Our decision to use Kentico EMS and Windows Azure (and our efficient coding) proved spot on and the site performed admirably when a nationwide television campaign began to drive lots of traffic. The stats below show that kids all over the world are engaging with it and enjoying it. Just what Pan Macmillan dreamt of when they came to us.

  • 121,048 visits to the site with…
  • Over 70% of new visits from over 160 countries and…
  • An average page load time of less than 2 seconds.
  • Visitors viewed an average of 4.3 pages per visit and…
  • Spent an average of 4 minutes on the site with…
  • 10% of traffic spending over 10 minutes on the site each visit
  • And 35% of traffic came from a mobile or tablet

Distinction’s team worked with us from the conception of the project. This highly collaborative approach meant a wide range of people from the business were able to feed into the process from the outset. 

The website has been a huge success not only for adults, children, Julia Donaldson and the Gruffalo team, but in the wider Macmillan global group.

James Luscombe, Marketing Technology Director

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