• The 39 Clues

Just the facts, ma'am

Web Designer | Interaction Designer | Game Designer | Animator

The Challenge

Children's book website, originally designed by print designer, needed updating. Client wished to keep illustration-heavy look while also streamlining the UI.

The Solution

Using textures and colors, and incorporating a clear visual hierarchy resulted in an efficient and effective design, yet kept the "fun" of The 39 Clues.

The Result

A website that delivered clear, consistent design that made content findable, and kept the rich visuals while also reducing the user's cognitive workload.

39 Clues original site
39 Clues Mission Details wireframe
39 Clues Mission Details Design

The 39 Clues site was updated on an almost monthly basis, so a templated system that allowed for quick and simple updating was important. At the same time, because it was, ultimately, a spy adventure game site for tweens, a strong narrative presence was necessary.

It is possible for an experience to be visually-driven, yet still efficient and logical.

Everything on the site was designed to fit this narrative: a satellite "map" was designed with keys representing areas in the world users needed to "travel" to in order to complete their missions, hints were provided in "agent dossiers," and a message board where other "agents were able to share clues were all designed as part of the adventure series experience.

As the only interaction designer from year 2010 through 2013, I "revamped" (as my producer called it) the main website, which had originally been designed by an illustrator.

Taking ownership of The 39 Clues allowed me to craft a great experience for the user, from start to finish.

My background as an illustrator and animator came in handy as I helped design and animate games, including the artwork, gaming mechanics, and animation, as part of The 39 Clues team.

The Results

The immersive experience provided by the combintion of the books and the online experience has proven to be very popular over the years; over one million children worldwide had registered on the website by late 2010

  • The 39 Clues Madrigal Blue Map
  • Promotional page wireframe
  • The 39 Clues Promotional page design
  • The 39 Clues Book Page wireframe
  • The 39 Clues Book Page design
Consistent and usable interactions don't have to be sterile. They can be richly textured and beautifully illustrated.