Bob the Builder

Code • UI Design • Project Management

When PBS came looking for an interactive, in-browser experience, we had to start with a blank canvas. Literally.

In 2015, there weren't too many people working in HTML5 canvas. (It turns out that in 2023 there still aren't that many, but that is another story.) Back then, PBS Kids was looking for a vendor who could build an immersive web experience for mobile and desktop that could provide a safe, engaging way for kids to engage with the Bob the Builder brand.

The final layout

At Convey Studio (which I co-owned at the time), we were sought out to do the heavy lifting to bring the project to life. The Bob the Builder site involved games, downloads, and video content featuring content from the much-loved British kids show.

My business partner handled the innovative coding necessary to realize our goals while I oversaw visual asset placement animation easing, brand continuity and project management to ensure the final project met brand standards for a national-level media channel.

Animated character details

The mini-games hosted on the site had to function entirely in client-side Javascript inside one HTML5 element to ensure cross-browser, device independent functionality. This is trivial with modern JS wizardry, but in the latter days of the Obama administration, such functionality was harder to come by so cleanly.

The resulting site was built to rigorous specs handed down from the PBS design team, and proved performant even on surprisingly slow browsers and limited bandwidth mobile devices. Though it was made for public broadcasting, this white-labeled effort never got Convey a lot of publicity. What it did do was put another tool in our tool belt of deployable solutions to the unique needs our clients presented.

These days Bob is no longer part of the PBS line-up, and HTML5 canvas never became the magical web technology of the future. Still, this exciting project helped expand my growing set of code-friendly design and product manager skills that would carry on from Convey through my work today.

Past work is great. New work is better.

If you are ready to make something amazing together, don't hesitate to reach out.