The simplicity that many of us strive for when building a website can sometimes have us overlook the hard work that occurs behind the scenes. In the case of Wimblecomm, we have been fortunate enough to have a dedicated Web Designer in Tim Marytn, and want to thank him for his ongoing works that make Wimblecomm what it is today.
In 2016, Wimblecomm started off as a venue directory which showcased various spaces available for hire across the borough, enabling people to see what’s available and make enquiries with community venues at ease.
Over the past 5 years, a number of additional services and information pages have been added which has seen the website develop into a local Community Hub. Today, Wimblecomm is proud to be a free, useful resource for people in Merton which connects them to various community services, local people, and activities.
Throughout the Wimblecomm journey, we’ve received feedback from people and organisations nationally, and are yet to find a website quite like ours. We are unique in many respects, and with a focus on Merton, and a desire to cater to the many communities within our borough, there have been a number of challenges. These challenges have included…
– How we continue to make the website easy to use whilst adding more functions and services.
– As a charity, working within our budget is a constant consideration.
– Where we go next with Wimblecomm.
– How we promote Wimblecomm as an online space that connects people digitally whilst still encouraging physical interactions.
Tim’s commitment and knowledge have played a pivotal role in getting us to where we are today, so as we continue to commend him for his hard work, below we share some words of wisdom and thoughts from him to see what it’s been like to develop Wimblecomm from a vision to reality, and keep it growing over the years.
With Wimblecomm being such a unique website, where do you get your inspiration from in terms of design?
With a site like Wimblecomm which offers a broad range of services to different users, most of the ‘design’ inspiration comes from studying those sites with a similar objective and identifying those that promote the user-experience above all else. Which isn’t to say that aesthetics aren’t important, and to that end we’re very lucky that our branding features some strong colours that work well as accents across the site.
When you’re not working with the WCA, what do you do?
I have a four-year old daughter, so I guess you can fill in the blanks as to what occupies a fair bit of my spare time. I like to draw and paint, I’m interested in photography, I love to read. I can quite happily lose myself to an afternoon spent with the Playstation!
How do you see Wimblecomm and other websites connecting people now and in the future?
In terms of various platforms and technologies and networking them together, it’s all there, which means it’s never been easier or cheaper for somebody with a good idea to transpose it to a tangible online presence. Wimblecomm started seven years ago as a directory site offering a free listing for venue owners and managers to advertise their venues to local people. In the time since the site has evolved to include an events directory, job listings, local news and more; as an example of how sites connect people now and in the future, I think it’s a good one. We’ve identified areas where we can expand the structure of the site to offer greater scope to local people to promote local services.
For the most part, you work with the WCA remotely. What has this experience been like for you? Does it work?
It’s been great, largely because I’m fortunate to work with a team (at Wimblecomm) that are very comfortable working things through via email. As a long-term freelancer, I’m a huge fan of email. I like the space it affords to compose thoughts and consider options, and it allows me to manage my time in a way that zoom or phone calls don’t. If you can chuck a screengrab in an email and explain an issue visually, then you’re saving your own time and the client’s too. The downside is that sometimes it’s hard to completely forget about work when the office is just down the hall. It’s important to be disciplined. I’ve made it a rule that when I turn off the computer at 5pm and close the door to my studio, I’ve left the office for the day and that’s that.
What has been your favourite part of working on Wimblecomm with the WCA?
The people; they’re organised, very dedicated and they really do know how to collaborate well. Not all clients really understand how to manage designers or freelancers, and sometimes those relationships don’t work out due to a lack of mutual respect for one another’s area of expertise. The team at Wimblecomm are the exact opposite and I think we all work very well together.
The project itself; it’s objectives and dedication to the local community. It’s a brilliant asset for the people of Merton and I’m rather jealous I don’t have access to something similar where I live!
What has been the biggest challenge thus far?
The addition of new services and functions. From a technology point of view, the site has outgrown its initial remit, so we’re always trying to find ways of adding to the user-experience without slowing performance and keeping all existing functions working together. As the Wimbledon Community Assocation (WCA) is a charity, we’re conscious that we don’t have an expansive budget to play with. So far, I think we’ve done okay!
Written by Genevieve Etienne-Farrell