The Southern Poverty Law Center

A reimagining of SPLC's flagship digital product that prioritizes security, performance, and impactful digital storytelling.

A Content-first Information Architecture

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s [SPLC] site was organized according to internal business structures, meaning site visitors had to first learn the language of the organization–imposing a significant roadblock between users and the information they were seeking.

We worked to reorganize their site through a content-first lens, by improving taxonomies, bringing related content to the forefront of each page, and introducing faceted search features that make it easier for users to navigate to relevant content. 

Stability, Security, and Simplicity  

The Southern Poverty Law Center faced a multitude of cyber attacks perpetrated by the hundreds of hate groups that they fight against; we re-engineered their site using a combination of a solidly built Drupal backend, hosted with Pantheon, and CloudFlare as a CDN and security layer. This infrastructure pairing has allowed SPLC to withstand both dramatic spikes in legitimate traffic and countless attacks. Detailed load testing showed the site fully capable of handling traffic in excess of five times their historical peaks. 

Desktop view of the Hate Map - Along the top is says "In 2021, we tracked 733 hate groups across the US." There is a sidebar along the left side that allows the user to filter by ideology or search by state.
Feature Highlight:

Revamping the Hate Map

The Hate Map, one of SPLC’s flagship pieces of cross-channel content, was due for a redesign to make the content more actionable and interconnected. ThinkShout worked with the team at SPLC to rebuild the digital Hate Map from the ground up. The updated Hate Map features a single interface, custom iconography, and a toggle that allows users to zoom into fully realized state pages. All of this functionality drives deeper connection into SPLC’s investigative journalism–leading users to confront the fact that hate is not far-flung, but something in our own backyard.

Mobile screens from SPLC's 2021 findings of the Hate Map - one screen denotes SPLC tracked 65 hate groups in the state of California

Results and Early Wins

Post site launch, traffic increased more than 370%. Visitors are staying longer and providing more support online: donations through the website went up more than 20%, with a 40% increase from mobile devices. The launch of the updated Hate Map saw traffic to just that section of the site spike over 20 times the historical averages with no impact or additional needs placed on the underlying infrastructure.

What We Did


  • Discovery Workshop
  • Content Strategy
  • Information Architecture


  • Content Design
  • Creative Direction
  • Visual Design and UI
  • Interactive Data Visualization
  • Custom Iconography


  • Technical Planning
  • Security Optimization
  • Accessibility Optimization
  • Custom Drupal Development

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