We helped Newton with a full site re-development, requiring some innovative solutions to deal with the regulatory challenges of a financial services institution.

Newton are a London based, global investment management subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. They provide investment products and services and have over £50 billion funds under management.

Newton got in touch with us in Feb 2014 about a full overhaul of their website including a redesign and development. Their existing site was becoming outdated in a number of respects and had grown unwieldy. They wanted to modernise, simplify and consolidate into a new site. The Newton team had already selected WordPress as their preferred content management system and had some clear plans to make use of its features and capabilities.

Newton sponsorship

Strict regulatory requirements

The website had to be responsive and present a clean and professional image. It also had to provide a clear and simple user experience. Behind the scenes it had to be straightforward and easy for the Newton team to update, but there were also some particular technical challenges from the financial services perspective.

As a financial institution, Newton operates within a strict regulatory environment and this permeates through all aspects of the business, including the website. They have a high need for control across their entire site because anything displayed there can be subject to regulatory scrutiny.


Custom editorial review development

There may be many people contributing content to the site but everything has to be carefully monitored before publishing. Standard WordPress allows drafts to be saved prior to publishing, but once an article has been published, any revisions are updated straight away. Newton needed an extra stage in their editorial flow to be able to save and review revisions in draft. We created a solution that allowed multiple versions of an updated article to be held in draft, allowing the editor to select, review and publish only the approved revisions.

Multiple version on one install

Newton has four different versions of their site available depending on geographical area and institution type of the user. In their previous website, each institution was maintained as a separate site creating issues around keeping them all in sync as well as a larger workload. The new site is a single WordPress install using a combination of shared content and specific content served depending on which version of the site is selected.

Each institution version of the site has a different legal disclaimer which must be shown and acknowledged by the user on the first visit. We had some complex work around the site cookies to make sure that the disclaimer is shown for each new institution visit, not just for the first site visit.

Innovative control mechanisms

The Newton editorial team need fine control over all aspects of the website. This involved building in some additional admin sections, including the ability to edit the disclaimer texts for the various institutions and the ability to edit the 404 error text.

There are some innovative features in the design which provide a clean and consistent look, yet make it easy for the Newton editorial team to have more control over the content. The right side bar of the site shows graphical links to other articles and areas that may be of interest. The links that are displayed can be specified individually for each page by the editorial team. Within each article it is possible to control which institution and even which pages can display the link. The links work like building blocks with a control system to specify which blocks may be selected.

articles page
Newton side menu

Regulatory audit trail

Another key functional requirement was that Newton need to be able to show the Financial Regulator the exact state of their website at any point during the last 7 years. The site takes constant snapshots which are archived to provide the necessary audit trail. The saved files have to be easily accessible by the Newton team at short notice.

Agile design and development

The Human Made team consisted of Matt, Jenny and Dasha dealing with project management and development and Mike Susko covering design interpretation and user interface. The project was run using the Newton development team’s agile methodology, which provided a learning curve at the beginning of the project. The teams worked through multiple, rapid cycles of development, demonstration, feedback and further development. The process required close integration with the Newton team and developed a strong, mutually respectful working relationship over time. The outcome was a successful site that really fulfilled Newton’s requirements.

The site went live in December 2014 and we continue to work with Newton for maintenance and further improvements.

Which Humans?