Ascentys Advisory is a company dedicated to evaluate strategic sustainability for companies, through a combination of human expertise and sophisticated technology. The target is medium and large companies that have generally not been in a position to measure their sustainability. The main objective of the site is to provide a service so a company can register and start the evaluation process.
After receiving the client's idea, we jumped to design and define the best strategy for the website. The first thing we confirmed was to keep a simple and clean (minimalist) web design, that goes with the topic of the site. For this we've chosen Wordpress, it is a very simple and friendly content management system (CMS). The requirements were simple too, but the security and privacy of the clients was key, so we had to define an architecture that allows users to send attached documents via secured servers without going even through Wordpress.
We started with the basic Wordpress implementation and a custom theme from scratch. We are inclined not to use an existing theme since the design was intended to be simple, so we made adjustments to the default theme that Wordpress provide. The client expected to use light and dark version of the design, so we developed that option as well.
The logic of the system was implemented through dynamic forms, in order to allow administrator user to easily manipulate each field for all forms. Once a company representative initiate the process, they can register in the system and once the necessary information has been updated, the user proceeds to complete a 3-steps questionnaire detailing general, economic, environmental and social aspects of their company. In addition to completing the evaluation, the company provides files and documents that will be used by an expert to analyze and extract relevant data for sustainability to be assessed and measured.
We also have to implement each form from scratch, therefore we used Advanced Custom Fields which is a super flexible plugin. This allowed us to create more than 300 questions, divided into 3 main areas, 9 topics and 27 categories. The site administrator is able to choose questions that consider necessary to fulfill the form, so the company can provide the answer just for relevant questions and the rest of them are completed and processed in the admin dashboard by the advisor. In addition, they have the flexibility to create, edit and delete the questions for each company that applies.
As part of the logic, we implement a custom plugin, this plugin also has a feature for exporting all questions in a csv file. The advisor can import this file in any external tool such as MS Excel or Google Spreadsheet.
Security and Privacy
A key implementation for the system was the document manipulation. IRI DarkShield was installed to achieve expected security, which also allows masking files and preventing their use even if a 3rd party tool obtain it. This service allows us to manipulate a list of source files, which cover the following:
- Text files, MS documents, etc.
- PDFs and image files
- NoSQL DBs (MongoDB, Cassandra, and ElasticSearch)
- Relational Databases
- Files in AWS S3
In our case we use the firsts two for this project.
Finally, we also cover all necessary for GDPR compliance. The GDPR had a big influence on the way cookies are used in the EU, since this site will be used mainly by European companies, we had an implicit requirement to meet.
Live site: https://www.ascentys-esg.com/