Eye-Catching Web Design with Payment Innovation Beyond the Screen

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About the Client

Merlin Entertainments, in association with Bear Grylls, launched a new attraction in 2018. A one-of-a-kind experience “bringing together Bear, one of the most celebrated and recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure, and Merlin’s expertise in creating fantastic, memorable experiences for guests across the world”. (Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin)

Situated in Birmingham, the attraction offers a range of experiences, from scaling the heights to exploring the depths, offering climbing, high ropes, diving and indoor skydiving. 

Business Challenge

Merlin Entertainments contracted CTI to bring their daring new adventure park to life digitally. Together we achieved this by creating a website and booking store for the brand new attraction: The Bear Grylls Adventure.

In order to increase brand awareness and to provide users with the most up-to-date information before launch, the chosen strategy was to follow an accelerated route to market.

The brief ultimately required 4 deliverables:

Deliverable 1

An enticing holding page, to ensure potential guests were able to search for the attraction and gain initial information.

Deliverable 2

A more complex pre-launch site; to enable users to sign up to newsletter mailing lists and gain familiarity with the attraction.

Deliverable 3

A fully functional site, delivering all necessary information, ticket purchasing and documentation capabilities. The final site would also need to nurture customers through a complex post-purchase journey, similar to flight tickets.

Deliverable 4

A wallet-free payment solution for use at the park that blurred the lines between online and offline technology.

Interactive Payment Kiosks

A video of the payment journey in real time

The Bear Grylls Adventure is the UK’s first theme park to offer digital wristbands that allow for a wallet-free experience. Bear wanted users to focus on the adventure, made possible by leaving their belongings, and wallets, behind in secure lockers.

Powered by Adyen, we built a system that enables users to pre-load smart wrist-bands with funds that can be used at all vendors within the park. Designing and building the website payment window and digital kiosk interfaces in tandem, we were able to create a fluid and consistent user journey.

For those users who don’t complete these actions in advance, the attraction houses digital, touchscreen kiosks at Bear’s “Base Camp”, which process payment in less than 30 seconds.


Distinct Activity Sections

The design of this site had to incorporate a user’s need to access key information as well as targeting their enthusiasm for adventure. Uniform page layouts throughout the site with an informed content hierarchy make it simple to seek out important details.

Despite the similarities between each page, visual cues were used to quickly differentiate activities. To make it clear to users that they aren’t looking at the same page, each activity was given a separate colour scheme, logo and evocative imagery, all of which still maintained the essence of the ‘Bear Grylls Adventure’ brand.

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Post Purchase User Engagement 

The adventurous nature of the attraction requires preparations to be put in place before a guest can attend. As such, the website needed to nurture the customer journey, beyond the point of purchase. Providing important information, as well as the opportunity to complete key documents (such as signing waivers). Ticket sales are only the beginning for this fully integrated digital user experience.

Reflecting the structure of an airline website, the final website includes a portal for all necessary pre-application. Digitally complex, integrating multiple third-parties servers, the portal has a simple and easy-to-use interface for users.MockUp 3 White


Rugged Design Elements

The site is designed to be visually engaging and memorable while incorporating elements of the Bear Grylls brand. This helped to solidify the new attraction’s brand awareness whilst also engaging with the adventurous personas who seek out new and exciting opportunities.

Impactful typography informs users straight away that this attraction comes from the Bear Grylls brand. The rugged font and rough edges to each block also promote the outdoor-themed attraction. We added ‘textured’ backgrounds to create depth within pages, providing a more visually enjoyable experience. The site includes session-triggered animations and scrolling hints, designed to encourage users to keep exploring. The subtle fading animations alert the peripheral vision of the focused, agile target audience.


Integrating the Bear Grylls brand

The attraction is built around the Bear Grylls brand, which in turn centres on Bear as a supportive survivor and philanthropist. This personal branding necessitates a positive user experience, to align with the idea of Bear acting as host.

The homepage welcomes users with a striking close-up of Bear Grylls. This well-known figurehead triggers familiarity in the user, capturing their attention and sticking in their memory. As users navigate throughout the website, they are met with further striking imagery of what to expect at the attraction. 

Video, filmed in the style of a Bear Grylls documentary is embedded to communicate the USPs of the attraction, and to create a sense of direct one-to-one communication between Bear and the user.

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Reactive Prototype Development

Promising to be a ‘world’s first adventure experience’, the attraction itself has shifted and developed continuously since the initial ideas stage. Allowing room for business-level fluctuation , our designs for the website had to remain flexible, in order to reflect any new elements and features added to the attraction itself.

Our agile approach at CTI enabled us to respond quickly and efficiently to each development, to ensure a positive experience for both the end user and the client developing the attraction.


Quality Assurance

All of our projects undergo rigorous testing, throughout the software development process. In order to deliver the utmost quality for clients and their respective users, our in-house QA team ensure that all end products perform accurately and reliably under normal and abnormal conditions. Testing is followed by continual monitoring of software performance, to prevent reoccurrence of any issues and to ensure efficient ongoing operation.

As such, we were able to confidently deliver a well-designed, scalable and technically stable result.


Reflecting the intended goals of user engagement and a positive UX, each of the phased launches saw target users increasingly more engaging with the site. 

The full site, integrated with wearable wallet technology, was launched in October 2018.

The Bear Grylls Adventure was shortlisted for the Best Website Design at the DADI awards 2018.