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Syncrony Swishes a Magic Wand

What do you do when asked to design a website featuring the famous Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling? If you are the South African company Syncrony Digital, you accept the challenge, warm up the magic wand and get to work.

Syncrony was recently commissioned by their long-standing client, LAPA Publishers, to create a website for a competition based on Rowling’s book for kids, The Ickabog. Syncrony did not disappoint. LAPA was delighted with the website, which went live on 1 September.

Website for J.K Rowling's Ickabog

According to Dr Howard Rybko, CEO of Syncrony Digital, the project was particularly challenging since the website had to be built from scratch using just images the client supplied. “The biggest challenge was to match the styling. There was no way a standard CMS (Content Management System) could be brute forced to deliver this kind of free format look. As a result, the user interface was hand-coded virtually from scratch.”

“It took a solid three weeks of work, but in the end, it was worth every minute. LAPA is a long-standing client and it was important for us to give them our very best. The fact that the project was launched by the famous J.K. Rowling, made the project even more exciting and rewarding. I am particularly proud of our designer Paige, who is a real wizard when it comes to building responsive web sites,” says Howard.

So, what is Rowling’s book and the project all about? Rowling explains that she wrote the stories some ten years ago as bed-time reading for her children. The stories eventually found a resting place in the attic, but during lockdown, she thought of the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it as a limited free online serialisation, in multiple languages.

The book is available in, amongst others, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and now also in Afrikaans. Chapters are posted regularly on websites across the world, including on the Afrikaans version created by Syncrony. Interestingly, children are invited to illustrate the stories. In November, the English version of the book will be published in print, eBook and audiobook formats, shortly followed by other languages, including the Afrikaans version published by LAPA Publishers. The best drawings from each territory will be included in the finished books.

Rowling author’s fee will be donated to assist people who have been affected by the Coronavirus.

 Click here to see the Ickabog site