Amnesty International

Creating digital simplicity for a multifaceted organisation

Amnesty International is the world’s leading human rights organisation and a global movement of over 10 million people, all working together to fight abuses of human rights through detailed research, determined lobbying, and powerful campaigns.

The non-governmental body is completely independent and funded by its members, and although it was founded in London during 1961, it has since opened regional offices in cities in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Its global offices act as major hubs for its investigations, campaigns and communications, collectively creating and publishing thousands of pieces of content each year, which led to the organisation first approaching Big Bite back in 2018 to help it standardise and simplify its digital processes.

Delivering streamlined consistency through a reusable framework

Following an in-depth discovery phase, we proposed the creation of a single reusable framework to enable Amnesty to meet the increasing demands of publishing numerous websites, microsites and website rebuilds across all of its global hubs, while retaining brand consistency. Strong accessibility and performance were also crucial requirements due to the number of content contributors based in third world countries.

To deliver an effective solution, we embraced the power of a brand new innovation and became the first agency in the world to launch an enterprise level project using Gutenberg – a game-changing WordPress block editor that has revolutionised the publishing experience. The result is a user-friendly core theme that enables Amnesty’s global non-technical teams to use predefined content blocks within their CMS, which they can populate with text, links and images to easily create and publish web pages and sites with a unified brand identity. The theme has also since been released as an open-source tool – Benenson – allowing the wider Amnesty International and WordPress community to utilise it. You can view a video showcase of the work here

Engaging more support through a feature-rich central site

Following on from the success of the core theme which has been used to launch over 16 regional websites, Amnesty recently appointed us to rebuild its central site – amnesty.org. The redesigned site is now available in English, Arabic, Spanish and French, and as well as using the Benenson theme, it also comprises a range of custom functionality that we’ve developed to better engage Amnesty’s users, including:

  • A new donations feature which makes it possible for the organisation to receive contributions via both its regional websites and its main site. Integrated with WooCommerce and the Stripe payment gateway, the feature enables Amnesty’s supporters to make either a one-off donation or a recurring payment – in preset or custom amounts – in their localised currency to support a country of their choice. You can see the front-end functionality which has been developed as a custom Gutenberg block, here
  • Online petition functionality that allows Amnesty’s content creators to produce online petitions that can be signed by its supporters who want to take action. In addition, it’s possible for creators to add specific tags to petitions – such as resource type, topics, and countries – to enable users to easily search and find petitions relating to causes they wish to support. You can view live examples of petitions here
  • A synchronised SharePoint integration that we developed to facilitate the migration of over 50,000 public facing documents to Amnesty’s new WordPress solution, and enable the organisation to upload future documents via SharePoint to its sites. We’ve also built the integration to ensure that any edits made to documents within SharePoint are automatically pulled across to the versions stored on WordPress.
  • A custom translation tool that allows Amnesty’s translations team to export content from WordPress, edit and translate copy using their internal system, and then reimport the updated content back into the Amnesty CMS. By using an existing MultiLingualPress plugin alongside the tool, we’re able to ensure that the export and import functions correctly handle the character sets of varied languages. 
  • Advanced search functionality including custom search UI, that we extended from the WordPress platform’s ‘out of the box’ search tool to enable the Amnesty site to deliver fast, relevant and refinable results to users without relying on third party search engines such as ElasticSearch. 

Ongoing developments

We successfully launched Amnesty International’s new site in July 2021, and will continue to provide ongoing support to the organisation, helping it maintain a strong digital presence to increase awareness of its campaigning against inequality and injustice, deliver invaluable human rights education, and garner more worldwide support for causes that change lives.