The Southern Poverty Law Center

Exposing the forces of hate in America through digital journalism and data visualization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) fights hatred and bigotry, seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. They maintain an annual list of hate groups, expose incidents across the country, and provide critical intelligence for journalists and the public alike.


The SPLC’s content had been grouped by internal structures, such that important and timely content would often get lost and fail to stitch together a larger story.


We developed intuitive relationships that allow visitors to blaze their own path through the site and discover the most meaningful content. Security and performance were also paramount, resulting in a site that meets the SPLC’s mission-critical standards.


2016 Webby Award Winner
+370% Increase in pageviews
+22% Increase in return visits

After reviewing usage data for the SPLC’s previous site, we found that visitors faced a significant roadblock because content was organized according to internal structures. We worked with the SPLC on a comprehensive content strategy that put visitors first. This key step helped maintain – and build – the SPLC’s reputation as a trusted source of information for supporters, donors, and the general public.

SPLC Mobile
SPLC Mobile

The SPLC’s Hate Map has deep cultural impact, and it was due for a redesign to make the content more actionable and interconnected. ThinkShout worked with the team at the SPLC to rebuild the digital Hate Map from the ground up. By showing all of the hate groups in the United States in a single interface, the Hate Map tells a powerful, and troubling, story. The 2018 map was more engaging than ever, with fully realized state pages and deeper connections into the SPLC’s investigative journalism.

SPLC Hate Map on a laptop and a smartphone

The complicated infrastructure of the previous site was re-engineered with three key requirements in mind: stability, security, and simplicity. We moved the site to Pantheon, and testing proved that it was fully capable of handling traffic in excess of five times their historical peaks. To protect against increasingly common and sophisticated attacks, the site’s infrastructure provides powerful protections. As a result, the SPLC team can focus their energy on the important work they do rather than managing critical infrastructure.

SPLC site on a tablet

In the end, the new SPLC flagship site is not simply streamlined, beautiful, and performant; it’s also effective in furthering the mission of the SPLC by helping them tell the powerful stories we all need to hear. Post site launch, traffic increased more than 370%. Visitors are staying longer and becoming more deeply engaged with the SPLC, supporting a mission that only continues to grow in importance.

Increase in pageviews
Increase in return visits
Launch Site

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