Today, SYNTAX got the green light to announce the release of the public beta of Wamda, the entrepreneurial mega hub that has kept us buy for the last 7 months. This project not only has the potential to transform the entrepreneurial scene of the region, but it has already transformed SYNTAX.
I have just posted my initial thoughts on building Wamda (for our clients at Abraaj Capital and Riyada Enterprise Development) in a rather long blog post at 360east.com.
A decade ago, a project like Wamda would have been probably conceived as the Arabic Fast Company or Inc magazine. But being born today, in the age of social networking and the real-time web, Wamda is more than a magazine, and it is wider than a website. The Wamda team at Abraaj, Riyada and SYNTAX has scoured the web for every regional entrepreneurial spark. As the Wamda.com hub launches it will aggregate hundreds of feeds from blogs, Twitter, company sites and mainstream media outlets, bringing together some of the best minds of the region into one vibrant conversation.
In building Wamda we have taken creative risks. We asked ourselves, how do we create a web interface at a time where the web is bringing together text, images, video, audio and that is increasingly reflecting the real-time life of people, companies and organizations.
Driven by the client’s mandate to innovate, we threw out the manual of conventional web design. Navigation, content display, layout, sharing, authoring and connecting on Wamda have all been reinvented. In doing so, we expect some user bewilderment borne out of unfamiliarity. But then, nothing great has ever been achieved by only sticking to the rules. A website is a living being that can change and mutate. We expect a lot of feedback from Wamda’s users which we will work back into the product to create a more refined experience.
The building of Wamda has also brought together our various disciplines at SYNTAX and Spring in an unprecedented manner. Beside the strategy, branding, user interface design and technology skills we usually bring to the table, our team has also developed the Wamda’s content strategy, researched the sources of potential stories, coordinated the actions of various content and production partners and produced massive amounts of content in-house. Our work on Wamda will usher in a new era at SYNTAX where we transition from a design-led to design and content led innovation firm. It’s an exciting time for us.