Tailored user experiences and features for a high-traffic nonprofit website

We partner with DomesticShelters.org to wield the power of technology in the fight against domestic violence.

About DomesticShelters.org

As the first and largest searchable directory of domestic violence programs and shelters in the U.S. and Canada, DomesticShelters.org’s mission is twofold:

  • Raise awareness of domestic violence services and efforts.  
  • Make it easier for victims to get help while maintaining privacy for their safety and the safety of the providing shelters.



UX Research

UI Design

Web Design


Ruby on Rails Development

API development & integration


Searchable Location Directory

White-labeled API

Special Privacy Features

Provider-powered Data Center

Embeddable Widgets

Awards Entry & Scoring Platform

A long-lasting & evolving relationship

DomesticShelters.org is one of our longest client relationships, dating back to 2012. Over the course of over a decade, both organizations have evolved, but we continue to break new ground together. 

After so much time, By the Pixel is more than just a technology partner for DomesticShelters.org. We work closely with their team to really understand their unique challenges and goals so we can find the best technological solutions for them.

Designed with each audience in mind

Through extensive UX research, 4 audience segments were identified: help seekers, survivors, learners, and domestic violence professionals. Because each segment has specific, sometimes sensitive, needs, it’s important that users in each group are given only the information they seek. Using relevant content feeds and other techniques, we created seamless journeys that allow users in each audience to self-select their experience.

Identify Abuse

This journey is intended for the “learner” audience segment, and it features guides, articles, tools, podcasts, and other resources to help learners identify abuse.

Get Help

“Get Help” is for help seekers. The searchable location directory is at the very top of the page, and as users scroll beyond the directory, additional resources come into view. 


The “Heal” journey is for survivors of domestic violence, and it features content to help survivors cope and grow as they heal from abuse.

DV Professional

Domestic violence professionals visit DomesticShelters.org to browse and share resources, manage shelter locations, access training, and request and manage donations. 

Searchable location directory with safety features

To help DomesticShelters.org simplify access to shelters for victims of domestic violence, we built a searchable directory that provides detailed information about nearby shelters. Shelters claim and maintain their directory entries by adding phone numbers, hours, languages, services, and more, like a Google My Business profile. Since the shelters maintain this information, help seekers can trust that the information is accurate and up-to-date.  

Due to the safety needs of shelters and the people who need them, searchers are able to see only the approximate distance between the location they search from and the shelter, and they are prompted to call for the exact location.

searching the shelter directory

Progressive web app

Recognizing the sensitive needs of most of their users, we built a progressive web app for DomesticShelters.org that is password-protected and features a display icon that can be disguised as an innocuous application to deter abusers from investigating the app and tracking help seekers’ searches or movements. 

Community driven events calendar

DomesticShelters.org wanted a unified calendar for professionals and survivors to connect locally. To address this, we built a filterable calendar feature that anyone can submit events to and share within their online and immediate local communities, building and bolstering ongoing support networks for those within the movement.

Extensive resources for Domestic violence shelters and professionals

An often-underserved workforce in the domestic violence awareness movement, we provide and highlight resources and tools that help professionals who work in the space serve their communities even better.

Simple provider location management

In this portal, providers claim their location and provide information for other uses to search for them, like budget, languages spoken, amenities, and other services. Because providers populate this information, the data that powers both the location directory and reporting center are extremely accurate, serving all audience segments with the most up-to-date information.

Provider-powered industry data center

A comprehensive and provider-powered feature, the industry data center contains over a million pieces of information regarding domestic violence programs throughout the world. From this center, providers can read articles that discuss infographics, find rankings for the nearly 3000 programs in the database, read full state and province summaries, and build custom reports for grassroots educational efforts, grant proposals, and more. 

Shelter Wishlists: An easy way to donate to those who need it most

DomesticShelters.org needed a way to channel in-kind donations (such as toiletries, towels, etc.) to local shelters. To solve this, we worked with Amazon.com to build Wishlists, an eCommerce-adjacent feature that enables shelters to list items that they need online and donors to buy them.

Using Wishlists, donors can purchase items on each shelter’s wish list without compromising their or the shelters’ locations. To date, over 500 shelters in all 50 US states have used this feature and converted their Wishlists into automated online stores.

Embeddable website widgets

To empower others to spread the word about domestic violence resources, we built embeddable widgets that can be customized and inserted on any website. These widgets provide a free way to share DomesticShelters.org’s database and content with their own audiences and on their respective websites.

Purple Ribbon Awards: 
Industry Awards Platform 

A widely known honor in the domestic violence movement, the Purple Ribbon Awards recognize heroes in the movement including shelters, survivors, advocates, and programs. Categories are divided by program size/budget and include over 60 awards, and winners receive up to $30,000 in grants to continue their efforts to fight domestic violence.

To simplify DomesticShelters.org’s entry and judgment process, we built a platform on Vue.js using a Ruby on Rails API for people to create an account and submit nominations for awards. 

Using the same tech stack, we simplified judging and scoring. Administrators from DomesticShelters.org can log in to add new awards, change entry instructions, and view/evaluate nominations, and programmatic scoring provides finalists for their ultimate review. 

Ongoing, iterative support for our partners at domesticshelters.org

Domestic Shelters is one of our longest-standing partnerships, and we are proud to offer any support they need to help them serve their mission. We anticipate continued growth in this rewarding and productive partnership, well into the future. 

Over $300,000 worth of items donated

Wishlists has facilitated more than 10,000 donated items valued at over $300,000 to help domestic violence shelters and programs better serve those in need. 

More than 2 million survivors helped each year

More than 2 million survivors per year depend on the connections and resources provided by the nearly-3000 shelters in DomesticShelters.org’s network.

Over 18 million site visitors and counting

At an average of almost 300 visitors per hour, DomesticShelters.org is one of the busiest domestic violence websites in the world.

Satisfied domestic violence professionals

When surveyed, domestic violence professionals report visiting the site over 20 times per year on average, and over 94% find the website helpful, relevant, and of high quality.