The privilege of being a vendor…

Much to the delight of our entire team, we were hired to complete the functional build of the new, English language site for the Adventures of Tintin – the informational and commercial arm of Moulinsart’s international family of sites devoted to the intrepid detective stories.

The website design was provided for us by the artists at Euro RSCG San Francisco (one of the world’s most highly respected and active design, web development and marketing firms), and we were tasked with creating an elegant, functional representation of their design vision with a few specific moving parts and a minor API connection to their Amazon store component. Unlike most of our websites, this has been one of the few site build-only projects that we’ve managed here at ZDCA. It was fantastic to work with such a professional firm and receive top-notch designs with unparalleled project management.

Euro RSCG found ZDCA via Zack’s remarkable network and engaged us via a message to us in LinkedIn (thanks social networking!). We were elated to be a viable vendor for a project such as this and are deeply humbled by how well it’s been received internationally.

The Tintin Website Build

Getting to work within the world of Tintin was particularly thrilling for us as we all grew up reading Tintin. Though it had been something like 15 years for some of us since picking up one of the iconic volumes, the giddy school kids in all of us came to life at the prospect of adding our talent to this endeavor.

“The Adventures of Tintin series was created in 1929 by a Belgian artist who called himself Hergé. Clever and ever-curious, Tintin is a reporter-turned-detective whose pursuit of villains, criminals, treasure and the occasional artifact takes him all over the world, along with a colorful cast of friends. Hergé based his stories on real-world events and cultures that had caught the Belgian national attention — from space exploration to Arab oil wars — and brought them to life for his readers in inspiring and exciting ways.”

Highlights of the site

Upon receiving the initial project scope, we decided to use WordPress as the platform in order to meet the per-page requirements with a mature back end already in place. WordPress has become such a robust platform and allows for framework flexibility and ease of upkeep via the remarkably user-friendly admin interface.

Maximizing our build output and minimizing application bloating was our philosophy and thusly we started with a spartan theme that included the base level functionality and built the skin around it adding only the components that we required to make the design come to life. In many cases, we hand built components rather than add new plug-ins to the application in order to control both security and optimization.

Using the now-standard CMS flavored independent menu model, WordPress gives developers the freedom to handle sections and pages independent of a typical blog-style automatic menu distribution paradigm. We constructed reusable page templates for the main sections and built in custom shortcodes and widgets to help build the add-on components and navigation elements requested while minimizing redundancy.

Here are some cool highlights of the build:

  • Home page carousel of the complete Adventures of Tintin including modern, seamless graphic transitions to achieve a circular motion feel and zoom-level state change appearance upon user input;
  • Adventure page moving carousel with page indicator;
  • Extensive backwards compatibility adjustments to balance the requested effects available with HTML5/CSS3 in modern browsers and usability without aesthetic compromise in legacy browsers on older operating systems;
  • Functionality on iOS systems (iPad, iPhone);
  • API hooks to the Amazon store experience

Awesome team

Our impressive Creative Associates team for this project exceeded not only our own internal expectations, but received a host of accolades in the form of delightful praise and commendations from our client, Euro RSCG. We’re privileged to be a part of this project and are fans of Tintin and Hergé (and all forms of art in general).

The film, directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, was released to critical acclaim in Europe in October 2011 and in the US that following December. We’re honored to have been part of it and hope that the continued success of the film opens up the world of Tintin to a broader audience of all ages.

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