Everything that starts small, can become big

What started with a small request to place Bellingcat's donate-button on top of their page ended up in an entire website redesign.

  • Innovation
  • UX Design

Bellingcat is an independent research collective that, using open source information and online tools, presents realistic journalistic analyses, based on verifiable facts. With employees in more than twenty countries, Bellingcat is active in a unique field where advanced technology, forensics, journalism, transparency and accountability come together. An objective antidote for a world in which truth seems to be increasingly subjective.

The organization is now world-famous. Their latest podcast about MH17 was in the top five in the UK, and a documentary on Bellingcat has since won an Emmy Award. Despite all the recognition, Bellingcat does not acquire money easily. For this, courses and training sessions are now provided for a fee. But this costs the researchers a lot of time. Time that they now cannot invest in their research.

To change this, Total Design has become a partner of Bellingcat. It is our ambition that Bellingcat’s researchers no longer have to think about money and only provide training if this is needed for their research. To achieve that, more is needed than just a donate button on the website. That is why we started working with Bellingcat to make the brand work even better for the organization and its financing needs. The first step in the collaboration is a renewal of the website. The new site went online on the 14th of July.

The new site was not just put online, but in the spirit of Bellingcat we challenged people to find it! The new site was hidden in the existing website. A dynamically moving character – and therefore different for everyone – led to that new site. The first to find it got one of 52 unique hoodies. Not black, the way hackers are usually portrayed, but white, because Bellingcat finds out the truth. After six minutes, the first visitor found the link to the new site and within an hour and a half, all available hoodies had been awarded. After this came the general launch.

On the first day of its launch, the site had 11,000 unique visitors. The first month after the launch the total was almost 800,000. The first steps have now been taken to allow the site to play a role in the financing of the organization. This will be expanded in the coming period.

Want to know more about this case? Get in touch with Martijn!