Working with the COI, Lightmaker developed a number of interactive tools for the Money Advice Service, a free, independent service set up by the UK government providing clear, unbiased financial advice to help everyone manage their money better. The tools consisted of a budget planner, loan calculator, mortgage calculator, cutback calculator, money stretcher calculator, savings calculator and credit calculator.
Each tool was developed in both Flash and HTML formats, with each one having varying requirements in terms of complexity, interactivity and functionality. For example the Budget Planner tool is a more complex tool with multiple screens, opportunity to input data, dynamically requesting further input fields, saving and restoring data and advanced print and email features. The Cut Back calculator is a simple form based tool which allows the user to enter in their monthly / weekly spend in order to display how much you are actually spending on something.
The tools are housed within the Money Advice Service website however an important element of the project was to ensure the tools were fully syndicatable across partner websites. To achieve this Lightmaker recommended an XML driven solution which allowed The Money Advice Service to manage the content (text), images (logos etc), visual colours, and syndication (using a base XML file and override XML files to control syndicated specifics).
Developing the tools with XML and XSLT templates has been extremely successful and has meant that the tools are not platform dependent and can be ported between languages if desired in the future. This ensures that the tools are scalable and easily syndicated.