Responses by Christian Lebel, associate and technical director, Akufen
Background: The Curious Critters Club is an adventure club for six to eight-year olds from around the world to learn about science and to identify new creatures. A co-production between La Boîte à Pitons (Canada) and Yoozoo (New Zealand), the project uses technology as a tool to foster discovery, allowing children to learn about the world, interact with others and develop curiosity.
Highlights: The site’s design style is in line with the target audience—fun, bubbly, colorful and illustrative—while the user experience remains pretty simple. Every detail of the site has been thought through carefully with a lot of custom animation and transitions. It was very important for us to create a dynamic website.
Challenges: As we built the world of Curious Critters one step at a time, adding more objects to get the final look we wanted, we discovered that the site performance could not be neglected if we wanted the experience to be enjoyed by a wide range of people on a variety of browsers and operating systems. Therefore, a lot of time was spent on optimization.
Favorite details: We ended up creating a website that is not only fun to explore, but also delivers a ton of content and information. Although this was a real challenge from the start, we made it work and even managed to create a navigation structure that remains simple so that young users can explore the site by themselves.
Anything new: Curious Critters was the first project where we dealt with many 3-D assets made with Cinema 4D. Since we had a lot of people involved, we had to establish an efficient workflow not only between the designers and the developers, but also between the teams and our client, in order to meet our deadlines. Our strategy was to develop some GUIs so that our designers could easily modify the amount, positions, colors and rotations of each object on the planet to give it the look they wanted. Overall, everyone on the team who worked on the project learned a lot and not solely about mystic creatures!