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Bath Boules



What we did:

  • UX
  • Creative development 
  • App development
  • Programme management 


Bringing the Bath community together over a game of Boules!

Every year in the heart of Bath, a much loved and long running tradition takes place which sees the Bath Boules tournament come to life - bringing together local businesses, residents and group societies including many charitable organisations to help raise necessary funds for the great causes they represent.

The historic French game is a fantastic sporting opportunity for the Bath Boules Trust to continue their mission of fundraising for the many local charities they have supported now for over 30 years, whilst giving everyone the chance to practise a game they may have once played in their past, often during a French family holiday across the water! The “Big Boules” and “little Boules” sponsors play a hugely important role in the whole proceedings.

The event has grown from a few teams in a mini contest one sunny summers afternoon, right through to today’s three-day extravaganza where the roads around Queen Square are closed for the local street food market, and 64 teams get involved on each day to compete for the coveted winners accolade.


With many people involved in the event each year, organising the extended weekend of activity based around the Boules game has brought many challenges - always with the aim of giving everyone the best experience.

To begin with, many people need a reminder of the “Rules of Boules” – from the basics, order of play and how to win! As the tournament progresses it all starts to become a bit more complicated to keep up with who is playing who, where and when - and this is where technology can come to the rescue.

It all started with a conversation between MediaClash, Digital Wonderlab and Rocketmakers, who could see the benefit of using tech to make the running of the event simpler and more engaging for the participant through the creation of an app.

This could be used by the organisers, sponsors as well as players to enable the whole weekend to run smoothly and become fun for everyone – pulling together the ability to share essentials such as locations, scores and leader boards, as just some of the features needed to start building out a suitable wireframe!

Once the project was divided into roles and responsibilities to approach the project, the global pandemic hit us all, scuppering our progress somewhat. But as soon as we were able to get out and about again, we reconvened to see Digital Wonderlab lead on the main backend areas including CMS implementation and key features such as score uploads and Franglais translators (yes – it’s a thing!), Rocketmakers push forward with design and development of the front end of the app, and MediaClash bring it all together with content.

Working remotely had become second nature to us by this time, so working across MS Teams, Slack and email with fortnightly check in calls put the Boules app firmly on the map to completion.

Right from the get-go, the back end of the application needed to be fast, reliable and flexible. Whilst Umbraco is a popular choice for building interactive websites for a reason, its remit goes beyond even that. By making use of Umbraco as a ‘headless CMS’, we were able to offer event administrators “on demand” customisability with no specialist skills required.

The design work was inspired by the existing collateral and website. Building on the client brief, our designers used a healthy dose of creative licence to bring the Franglais to life, not least through the power of the baguette scrollbar. Technical and design skills combined to deliver the front-end of the app and app store assets to ensure the successful and timely release to the app store in readiness for the big day.

Rules, amenities and even “beaucoup de Franglais” could be added up to and even during the event. Taking these features further, the application was able to accept fixtures and game scores simply by uploading a familiar spreadsheet format. From here, the back end could take care of number crunching and keep staff and players fully up to date as the results poured in.

The results


creative tech powerhouses working together


teams used the app in a single weekend


increased donations and awareness throughout the weekend and beyond

“The creative energy brought to the table by all parties seemed to really gel and some wonderful ideas were born. It was particularly successful as the ideas came to life through the expertise of the project team who had a real understanding of how to make them work in practise."

Steph Dodd, Event Director, Bath Boules

"The innate UX and app knowledge shown was really impressive and both teams responded instinctively to create a brilliant in-app experience for our event attendees who enjoyed using it and were continually checking in for updates!”

Steph Dodd, Event Director, Bath Boules

“As the client, we were involved as much as we wished and the care and attention to detail shown to us was very thoughtful as well. Considering we were working with a tech product (and we’re by no means experts in the field!), it never felt too complicated to understand and the communication was brilliant. It also felt surprisingly efficient as a new collaboration as the project was well-planned, communicated and delegated.”

Steph Dodd, Event Director, Bath Boules

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