Jon Gedny

Jon Gedny - Web Developer

London, United Kingdom

I specialise in design and developing websites for publishers (Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan) as well as many well known authors.

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Overview

I'm Jon. I've been producing websites, apps and other web-based platforms for the publishing industry for more than 20 years. In 2002, I founded a run a website agency based in London and Cardiff. My clients include publishers, such as Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan, literary agents and publishing organisations, as well as many well known authors from Soman Chainani to Jeffrey Archer.

Recently I've helped:

- Jeffrey Archer gain an 80% increase in page views and 32% reduction in bounce rate.

- Salomonsson Agency create a website for Lars Kepler, who has sold over 15 million copies in 40 languages.

- Pan Macmillan reduce their website's server response time by an average of 78%.

- Penguin Random House communicate with over 1,200 staff on a daily basis through their intranet.

- Macmillan Distribution accept and fulfil online orders for over 40 publishers through a web-based platform.

With the support of my experienced team, I design and develop highly optimised websites for authors. I use technology I believe in, for author websites that primarily means WordPress or Webflow. I am are adept with a range of third-party tools and platforms such as Google Analytics and Mailchimp.

I welcome projects large and small, from strategic and creative short-term book campaigns, to author websites, and projects for international publishing houses. I help brands and individual authors grow their online presence.

"Jon was a pleasure to work with, creative, knowledgeable and always going the extra mile. He produced a website that I am proud of, and that promotes my new books and connects readers, old and new, with my back catalogue, wherever they are in the world."

Jeffrey Archer, Bestselling Author
Services
Non-Fiction
Children’s Non-Fiction
Math & Science
Parenting & Families
Technology
Fiction
Science Fiction
Thriller & Suspense
Women's Fiction
Young Adult
Works with
Shopify
WordPress

Work experience

Founder and Director

Line Industries
March, 2002 – Present (about 20 years)

Since 2002 I have been growing Line Industries digital capabilities. Line Industries develops digital solutions for publishers, educators and innovators, creating successful websites, apps and services. Their clients include publishers such as Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan and authors from Soman Chainani to Jeffrey Archer.

Line Industries are based in London and Cardiff in the UK.

Web Designer

Penguin Books
July, 1998 – December, 2000 (over 2 years)

I started my career at Penguin, initially part-time whilst finishing my BA and then continued on a full-time basis. It was an exciting time to be a web designer and Penguin’s ventures into the online world were fairly recent. Before leaving Penguin I was part of the team that transitioned their digital presence from a network of loosely connected micro-sites to a central site driven by Vignette CMS with e-commerce capabilities.

Projects

MDLConnect (Macmillan Distribution)

Macmillan Distribution (MDL) launched MDLConnect, a web-based platform allowing their client publishers to use a self-service ordering model. Hundreds of users from over 40 publishers, including internal and external sales representatives, will use MDLConnect, and benefit from faster order turnaround and improved order visibility.

MDL recognised that customer and publisher expectations were changing, and that demand for a robust and complete online service increasing. The platform interfaces with MDL's internal systems, most notably Vista, and once an order is placed through the site is automatically processed and passed to their 340k sq ft Swansea warehouse for distribution.

As no off-the-shelf solution was available, MDL partnered with me and my team. We worked closely with MDL from the start helping to define requirements, identify risks and wireframe solutions. We developed the solution on Sitesuma, our full-stack framework, and continued to support MDL through testing, and now release.

An agile prototyping phase factored in numerous iterations, followed by in-depth reviews and user acceptance testing (UAT) phases. These often led to refinements in the specification and re-test cycles.

As part of the solution we delivered a suite of administrative tools giving MDL control over user accounts and permissions, along with sophisticated logging of order history and status.

CENL (British Library)

The Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) aims to increase and reinforce the role of national libraries in Europe. It is a membership organisation consisting of 49 members from 46 countries.

The CENL Board meets once a year and appoints an Executive Committee for a period of at least three years. The secretariat, is currently under the presidency of the British Library with Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, serving as Chair.

I worked with CENL to develop an entirely new online presence and website. This began with a scoping phase which included a combination of workshops, remote user testing and in-person user sessions and interviews with key stakeholders from member libraries.

The design phase of the project went from wire-framing to prototyping and then visual design. During this process there were further user sessions, including click and memory tests, allowing me to gain insight and refine the prototype.

The site offers public visitors key details about member libraries, reports and publications and pulls in news from member websites and social channels. CENL members are able to request access so that they may access restricted content and engage in community aspects of the site such as discussion forums.

The site is built on Wordpress but extends greatly on its native functionality.

The School for Good and Evil

Create a global community for fans of the best-selling series, The School for Good and Evil.

This is no ordinary author website, I created a global community for fans of the best-selling series, The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani. The launch of the site coincided with the release of the third and final title in the series. The site drew a continuous stream of new registrations alongside active members who have the opportunity to gain Ranking Points through their engagement with the site and special assignments. The largest audience for the site came from the US the series but it also has a significant following in the UK, Canada, Australia and the Philippines.

Given the young age of the users we put measures in place to prevent them from using profile photos and instead developed an Avatar Generator so that they can create a custom avatar using a kit of parts. Soman produces a regular series of videos under the name of EverNever TV. There’s a Reader’s Gallery allowing fans to submit their own artwork and an Entrance Exam to determine whether members are Evers or Nevers on enrollment.

Soman’s school tours are supported by press and educational resources available through the website.

Fiona Neill

Fiona Neill is an author and journalist who has written five Sunday Times bestsellers. Her novels have been translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide.

Fiona approached me to help her develop her online presence. I designed and developed a simple microsite to promote her new book, Beneath the Surface, as well as support previous titles, other writing and events. Visually the site had to engage readers and sit comfortably with the latest book as well as Fiona’s back-catalogue. The site had to be simple to administer and easy to update.

Jo Nesbo

Create an online hub for Jo Nesbo, one the world’s most popular crime writers.

Jo Nesbo is an internationally acclaimed bestselling crime writer, I worked with Penguin Random House UK (PRH) who were his lead publisher globally for books in the English language.

PRH approached me to replace the existing UK and US websites with a single site showcasing all of Jo Nesbo’s work. The new site, and its responsive layout, ensures that users have a great experience whatever their device. I chose to build on WordPress which allows the team’s at Penguin Random House to administer the site with ease.

Links to purchase books are determined by the user's location taking them to online booksellers for a range of countries including the UK, US, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Regional jacket artwork is also displayed depending on a user’s location.

Jeffrey Archer

Increase online engagement with readers and grow the audience for Jeffrey Archer who is published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages. I collaborated with Jeffrey Archer’s team to greatly improve his digital platforms, increase engagement with readers and build his audience.

I worked to develop a clear and consistent content plan and voice that could be applied across digital channels. Following a content audit of the existing site and a review of IA, we redesigned and developed the website to increase visitor engagement resulting in a reduction in bounce rate and increases to time on site and pages per session. My work included an audit of social channels with a focus on recreating the YouTube channel and starting a programme to actively grow followers and engagement on Instagram.

The site is built on Wordpress.

Lars Kepler

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed Swedish husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril, authors of the No. 1 internationally best-selling Joona Linna series. With eight instalments to date, the series has sold over 15 million copies in 40 languages.

Lars Kepler is published by HarperCollins in the UK and Knopf (an imprint of Penguin Random House) in the US. Working with Stockholm based literary agents Salomonsson Agency I produced a modern site to support and promote the series, coinciding with new jacket designs by Knopf.

Pan Macmillan

Pan Macmillan capitalises on content marketing to bring visitors to their sites through interviews and articles for book lovers. This requires fast load times to ensure the site ranks well in search engines.

With the support of my team, I worked to shift their primary websites to a Jamstack architecture. The brief was to improve work-flow for editors, make content accessible to multiple channels, provide a microservices architecture to allow for a more agile approach to releases, and improve site speed significantly.

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