connecting families

Hairy Maclary and Friends

Who we worked with:
Penguin Books
What we did:

Strategy UX Design Build

Check it out:

Hairy Maclary and Friends

Hairy Maclary and Friends are beloved by children worldwide, with over 9 million books sold. For his 30th birthday, Penguin Books wanted a fun new digital home where the characters could live beyond the printed page.

We poured hundreds of hours into getting it perfect. We invited parents on the design team, and had kids as beta testers. The result: an easy-to-navigate, responsive and touch-friendly single-screen design. 

The immersive design draws children & parents into the famous stories & helps them learn more about the characters, the books & the author with animated graphics, games & online stories.  It was centered around the idea of parents & children, perhaps snuggling on the couch, interacting with the site together.

The site features animated illustrations, games and stories, plus free resources for throwing your own Hairy Maclary-themed party, and links to purchase e-books. Now a whole new generation has new ways to play with their favourite raggedy pooch of indeterminate breed.

With many parents of pre-schoolers on the design team, the characters were already well-know & well-loved, so it was a real joy to conceptualise a site that was true to the author's vision which is intuitive and easy for young users to navigate

We set out to create a fun, safe place to engage with the characters beyond the printed page, staying true to the spirit of Hairy Maclary while also considering how children interact with technology.

And it passed the kid test with flying colours!


All-ages development team

How could we best translate the characters into their brave new online world in a way that worked for the target audience of parents and children? We invited parents of pre-schoolers to be on the design team, and had children help test out various design ideas. We then spent hundreds of hours tweaking. The site passed the ‘kid test’ with flying colours – children who tested out the site ‘got it’ straight away.

Kid-centric design

The finished site uses a single-screen approach that’s easy for young users to navigate. It’s also responsive – automatically scaling intelligently across different devices from computer screen to tablet to smartphone. And, like the lovable Hairy Maclary himself, it’s touch-friendly.

Engaging young minds

The immersive design engages children (and parents) to learn more about the characters with animated illustrations, games and online stories. There’s also free resources to create your own Hairy Maclary-themed party, and links to purchase Hairy Maclary e-books.

“This innovative, engaging & visually stunning digital home for Hairy Maclary provides another way for Lynley Dodd’s beloved characters to entertain children & parents for years to come.”

Lisa Fitzpatrick Marketing Manager at Penguin Books