Professional Biography

Stewart Mader helps organizations use the Web to connect people with engaging, valuable, and timely information. He is the author of Wikipatterns (Wiley, 2008), a practical guide to improving productivity and collaboration in organizations.

He is currently Global Head of Digital Media at Fitch Ratings, where he is building the company’s first-ever digital media team, and leading a complete redesign and reengineering of the company’s website and social media presence. Previously, he served as Director of Social Media & Online Tools at CFA Institute, where he established and led the organization’s online efforts, including Enterprising Investor and @MarketIntegrity, to reach journalists, legislators, policymakers, and investment professionals who play essential roles in shaping the direction of the financial services industry.

Stewart has guided digital media for companies including Atlassian, MARS, SAP, and World Bank-International Finance Corporation. For IFC, he guided development of a hub for donors, investors, consultancies, and NGOs to document and evaluate business models best suited for developing countries. For Atlassian, he established the voice of the brand by writing about social media, collaboration, and software development for the Atlassian Blogs, speaking at numerous conferences, and providing guidance to Confluence & JIRA customers around the world as the company expanded from its roots in Australia to a global organization with offices in Europe and the US. He also led digital media for Brown University, where his team was selected by Apple for one of the first large-scale pilots of iTunes U. He holds an MS, Curriculum Development & Instructional Technology from University at Albany, and a BS, Chemistry magna cum laude from University of Hartford.

Stewart is also an advocate for public transit. He worked with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to found the PATH Riders Council (PRC), an advisory group chartered by PATH to ensure riders have a voice in system design, customer service communications and operations decision-making. He currently serves as Chair of PRC. He also founded Subway NY NJ, an independent proposal to return New Jersey to the New York City Subway Map and prominently display PATH lines, for a more complete map of rapid transit in the urban core of New York and New Jersey.

Fitch Website Release 11: New UI for Data, Better RSVP for Events, Interactive Charts

In Release 11 of the new, we rethought the design and information architecture of the pages that present credit ratings for public finance. These entity and credit summary pages present essential information on governments and public agencies that issue bonds and are responsible for paying back investors in those bonds, the issuers that handle the logistics of bonds and payments, and the bond issues themselves. We also introduced support for interactive charts embedded in articles, a responsive, mobile-friendly experience for event information and registration, new hubs for Asset Manager Ratings, Fund Quality Ratings, and Money Market Funds Monitoring, a new home for the Resi EMEA analytical tool, and a new homepage for France.



Fitch Website Release 10: Japan Homepage, SoundCloud Support, New Story Cards

Release 10 of the new continues our migration to a single, well-organized, and easily navigable website. We’re introducing a new, Japanese-language homepage that extends the new global website experience to our audience in Japan. The homepage is accessible via a new link 日本 in the third column of the header menu, below the link 中国 to the new China homepage introduced last month.

Fitch Ratings Japan Continues…

Fitch Website Release 9: China Homepage, Criteria, Outlooks

Release 9 of the new focuses on introducing support for content in multiple languages, starting with a new, Chinese-language homepage that extends the new global website experience to our audience in China. The homepage is accessible via a new link 中国 in the third column of the header menu (to make room for it, we’ve moved the links to CUSIP/ISIN/Ratings Search, Peer Analysis, and Portfolio to the second column, right after the A-Z list of sector pages).

Fitch Ratings China


Fitch Website Release 8: Optimizing the Responsive Design

From the header to search, headlines and ratings streams, and content spacing, we’ve made sure the website experience is smooth and consistent on major mobile platforms, and various phone & tablet screens. Also, Fitch Wire articles are now prominently displayed in the Headlines stream on the homepage.

Fitch Responsive


Fitch Website Release 4: First New Sector Pages, Video Support in Featured Story Cards

Release 4 of the new introduces new sector pages for Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI), better support for mobile devices, as well as a refined design for the featured story cards used on the homepage and new sector pages, and a number of under the hood changes. We’ve also “pinned” the header, so that the navigation menu, search, and login menu are always visible, even when you scroll to the bottom of any page.

Fitch Sector Page Banks Continues…

Fitch Website Release 3: New Page Architecture for Commentary and Ratings

Fitch publishes dozens–sometimes hundreds–of news items every day. They contain everything from announcements of ratings to research summaries and commentary on important developments in the financial markets. They are among the most heavily used items on the website, and until now, they’ve been presented in a way that isn’t optimal, especially on mobile screens. In this website release, they have been redesigned to improve readability on a variety of screen sizes with a responsive layout, improved spacing, and font sizing optimized for screen reading. We’ve also added tools for sharing via email and social media, and streams that display related content, so that these  function as a stronger gateway to research, commentary, and ratings.

New Story

Here’s what a story looked like before the redesign:

Old Story

We’ve also redesigned the Regulatory Affairs, Code of Ethics, and Ratings Definitions pages to improve ease of use and readability, and we’ve improved the process for maintaining and updating any page within these sections of the website.

This release also includes the complete build-out of the new Fitch Solutions website, including a dynamic homepage, and new product pages for Fitch Connect, Analytics, Data, Credit Ratings & Research, Partners, and Regulatory Solutions.

New error pages will help you find your way if you find yourself on a page that no longer exists, or encounter an access error related to your subscription. When you search, a dynamic animation appears while Type Ahead search results are loading, and the Type Ahead search layout has been updated for easier readability, with improved spacing and icons for result types.


Fitch Website Release 2: New Website for Fitch Solutions

Before we started this project, the Fitch Solutions website was ‘shoehorned’ into the web presence of its sibling, Fitch Ratings, which meant that the website for Fitch Solutions never really felt like a destination of its own. In this release, we’ve set things right by decoupling the two websites. The domain has been configured to support a standalone website, instead of redirecting to pages under the domain.

The new Fitch Solutions website is designed to work seamlessly with the Fitch Ratings website, sharing common functions like search, login, and navigation, while also maintaining a distinctive presence, with details like the slate blue in the Fitch Solutions brand applied to title bars in featured story cards, and the main navigation menu in the header.  When you visit, you’ll see a website built to showcase products and services from Fitch Solutions, with information on Fitch Connect, the company’s flagship data platform, as well as custom feeds, financial data, and more.

Fitch Solutions


Fitch Website Release 1: Building a New Digital Face for a Growing Media Company

This is the first part of a multi-phase project to redesign and reengineer the Web presence for Fitch Group, starting with the websites for Fitch Ratings, and Fitch Solutions. We’re building a destination that reflects the quality and strength of the company’s research, and provides a consistent and intuitive experience that will eventually extend to every page on the site.

A complete website overhaul is much like a major construction project to build a skyscraper. Once the project plan is set, the construction fence (or shed, as we call it in New York) surrounds the site, and much of the initial activity takes place out of sight. The foundation is dug, footings are poured, and below grade infrastructure is built to support the structure that will rise above ground. Once the structure starts rising, progress becomes more steadily visible.

For the new website, we’ve just completed this ‘foundation’ phase, because we have put in place a completely new underlying system on which the presentation layer – what you see and interact with in your browser or on your mobile device – is built. A new database, new APIs, new content management system, new page architecture and reusable components that gracefully arrange content in response to various screen sizes, and new login technology are some of the systems we’ve been building behind the “construction fence”.

On top of this foundation, we’ve built a new page architecture with three major elements. Let’s take a look.

front page


Video: Introducing the New Fitch Ratings Website

A fun look at how we're redesigning and reengineering the web presence. Details:

Posted by Stewart Mader on Monday, April 6, 2015

Interns, agencies should not manage social media

If you’re a director of social media and you’re not directly involved in managing editorial flow and campaigns on your company’s social media presence, you’re doing something wrong. Your presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn (and other industry-specific platforms like Houzz) is a counterpart to your website. For many people, it may be the first place they get information about you or interact with you, so why would you leave this to someone who is either unfamiliar with your organization, or not even part of it?

Interns should be involved with social media, but they deserve to learn what differentiates a company’s use of social media from someone’s personal use: editorial development, staff training, campaign planning, budgeting, and analytics. Likewise, agencies should be involved, but as sounding boards and suppliers of external perspective to help guide strategy.

Organizations need to develop the internal competence, and confidence to handle social media directly. Social media directors have a professional responsibility to guide an organization’s overall embrace of social media, and they con only do it well if they have the necessary firsthand experience. Making time to directly manage a key piece of the company’s social media presence gives directors credibility when they advocate for the integration of paid social into advertising campaigns and marketing automation, request the necessary budget to grow audiences and engagement, and work with staff throughout the organization to embed the mindset and skills necessary to serve in public-facing social media roles.

When organizations outsource day-to-day management, this is what happens: We Got A Look Inside The 45-Day Planning Process That Goes Into Creating A Single Corporate Tweet. Bad press for Huge, bad press for Président Cheese, and a reminder that when given an inch, Business Insider will take a mile.

Why is Huge not advising Président Cheese to start with a promoted account campaign to build a more reasonable starting audience on Twitter? At CFA Institute, we started a new account in April focused on the private wealth segment of the professional investment management industry, managed by a staff member who covers private wealth, and is a former Financial Times journalist. Thanks to a promoted account campaign targeted at people likely to have an interest in private wealth (based on who the follow and what they tweet about), @CFAwealth now has 17K followers, which gives the account a reasonable starting audience with whom to build a relationship based on useful information and interaction.