Swimfari Site Relaunch
It was just over a year ago that Swimfari was created. The idea was born from a problem that, as a keen swimmer, there were not really any map based sites that listed swim events.
The only way that I knew of open water swims was through word-of-mouth and a few websites that listed some – but not all – swim races. The occasional family holiday also had me searching out local events that I could possibly attend while away from home. As (bad) luck would have it, swims were always held a week before or after leaving the destination.
‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a site where you could check out swim events before travelling?’, I’d asked myself.
It wasn’t until a few years later, while I’d been developing WordPress websites for my design business’ clients, that I came across a map based WordPress theme. Always intrigued and captivated by maps I knew straight away what I wanted to do with the theme and set out to make the site a reality. All the while I was adding new skills to my repertoir as a designer/developer.
And what a year it has been…
I started with a loose plan, to create something useful for myself and for other lovers of open water swimming around the world. Although I was prepared for some success I don’t think I fully appreciated just how closeknit the swimming community was. As we neared the open water swimming season in my hometown of Melbourne, I saw the site gaining some tracktion, enough to warrant site improvements to make it a better user experience for all.
I’d had a very successful season in the water as well, coming equal first in my age-group for the Great Victorian Swim Series short distance non-wetsuit, and second in the long distance non-wetsuit categories. I also swam accross the notorious heads of Port Philip Bay, also known as The Rip and had some very good placings in the St Kilda Mile and Melbourne Classic, finishing second in the latter race which was also the last swim of my swim season.
Toward the end of the Melbourne swim season I made the decision to completely revamp the site. A little exhausted from a busy season I realised some things had to give during this redevelopment process and so updates became less frequent. Priority was given to researching alternative site designs, functionality and features.
…it’s with great pleasure I release to you ‘Swimfari, Swim New Horizons’.
We have retained a no-fuss navigation aimed at helping you find swims faster. Another feature to remain was the map interface which can now be searched based on your current location. You can also search based on regions, great for when you plan to travel.
Each listing has also been colour coded based on the month the event falls in, another great way of quickly seeing the best time to travel to your chosen destination.
Our biggest features.
By far the biggest advances in the re-release is the ability to create a FREE account. This allows users of the site to ‘bookmark’ swims to their Dashboard (we’ve called this ‘My Swim Series’) and also keep notes like your own swim times and personal reviews. No longer will you need to search your records for comparison times from previous years, you’ll now have all your swim results in one central location regardless of whether you’re on your home computer, tablet or mobile device.
When logged in you can also review swim listings including leaving star ratings based on the course layout, event safety, merchandise and value for money.
Adding and claiming swims has now become easier, too. Even if you find your favourite swim hasn’t been included, or you know of a swim that should be listed on Swimfari, you can now add it yourself – even if you’re not the organiser.
And if you are an event organiser and have found your swim already listed on Swimfari, you can claim it as your own so you can update it as required. Why not make the most of your listing and customise it so it stands out from the others. We’ll soon be posting tips on how to maximise your listing.
Let’s go shopping!
Another addition is the online store we like to call ‘Shopfari‘. This is where we sell Swimfari merchandise and hopefully, in the future, other swim related products and paraphenalia. Currently you’ll find the original Swimfari t-shirts listed in both men’s and women’s designs. Sales of these items go to help keep Swimfari running. Why not buy one for yourself or a friend who loves to swim and travel.
For more information on how you can support Swimfari head to our ‘How It Works’ page.
But where’s the calendar?
One feature not currently included in this re-release is the calendar. With the complete redesign we’ve had to start from scratch so we’ve prioritised relisting swims before updating the events calendar. But don’t fear, the calendar will return. And in future, the aim will be to integrate this a little better when adding a listing, saving a lot of double entries.
The site is still very much a work in progress and therefore some functionality that is missing will be added over time.
Now for your thought…
Tell us what you think of the new Swimfari. Leave a comment below and tell us what feature you’re most excited about.
Happy swimming and be sure to Swim New Horizons this season and more.