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Case Study – Illinois College

Moving to an efficient editing experience to create an accurate, easy-to-use catalog.

We recently launched a new course catalog system for Illinois College to replace their previous PDF catalog version. Moving from a static PDF page to an interactive catalog site has been a gamechanger for both their staff and students. Check out what Katie Brenner, Illinois College’s Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication, had to say about the build-out process and their new catalog site.

The Challenges

In the years leading up to their transition to Clean Catalog, the staff at Illinois College struggled with an outdated catalog system, which consisted primarily of a Word Document and PDF. Since they were not using catalog software, the process of editing their catalog was burdensome and led to multiple catalog versions circulating online. Bunner recalls their previous system as being “very outdated, with changes being made through a few different processes to produce a printed catalog and then transfer and reformat content onto our website.” This cost their institution countless admin hours over the years and also led to widespread issues in accessibility.

The Process

To jumpstart the process, Illinois College sent us the existing Word Documents and PDF files of their catalog. Since there were multiple separate documents making up their catalog, our team did a clean sweep during the migration process to ensure there were no duplicated content entries. We also took this time to integrate a Student Handbook with their catalog software, making their new site a one-stop-shop for their students. After building out the first draft of their new catalog, we sent a preview link to the Illinois staff for their feedback. During the revision process, we built out customized layouts, user workflows, visual formatting, and integrated their branding.

Their staff was pleased with the build-out process, with Bunner saying, “the entire process was professional and knowledgeable from start to finish. They were prompt in response and even quicker with providing changes and updates to the workflow. The Clean Catalog team understands the need and importance of having a digitized experience for the catalog user and worked with us on every personalized request to put forth the best catalog (and student handbook) we've had to date.”

Our Solutions

Since Illinois College’s website, ic.edu, already uses Drupal, we used a sandbox Drupal 8/9 integration module on their new catalog site. This not only allowed staff to login with their preexisting credentials, but lessened the (already minimal) learning curve for switching to Clean Catalog. Benner recalls that their institution’s “familiarity of the backend was one of the pros in our decision-making process” when choosing our software. We also focused on building out an interface and layout that would be very intuitive for today’s tech-savvy students. This was high on Illinois’ new catalog wishlist, since their previous version was clunky to navigate and use. We ensured their catalog and student handbook were easy to search and scroll, no matter what device a student was accessing it on. The new format is fully accessible, meets modern web standards, adheres to SEO best practices, and will make the process of applying for accreditation much simpler in the future. Finally, our team took a deep-dive into Illinois’ branding and style guide to ensure their catalog was a seamless extension of their existing website. Bunner and her team were very happy with the “very customized look” we created, and how our customizations landed them with a catalog site built specifically to solve their institution’s unique pain points.

The Clean Catalog team had a blast working with Illinois State to launch their new catalog, and we can’t wait to see the positive ripple effect their new software will have on their staff, students, and their college as a whole for years to come.

Katie Brenner

Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication

The Clean Catalog team understands the need and importance of having a digitized experience for the catalog user and worked with us on every personalized request to put forth the best catalog (and student handbook) we've had to date.