Case Study — MassHousing

We recently worked with MassHousing, an independent housing agency in Massachusetts, to launch a unique course catalog for senior residents in living facilities.

We recently worked with MassHousing, an independent housing agency in Massachusetts, to launch a unique course catalog for senior residents in living facilities. Due to the flexibility of our software, we were able to customize a catalog to fit the structure of their resident engagement program and workshops. We spoke with Eric Gedstad, the Director of Marketing for MassHousing, about their experience working with Clean Catalog and how their new catalog has been performing since the initial launch.

The Challenges

MassHousing approached us with the request to build a course catalog for their resident engagement programming. Their company offers free workshops and activities for its senior residents in a wide range of subjects, from the Basics of Microsoft Word to Canvas Painting to Yoga. Prior to working with Clean Catalog, MassHousing was using a PDF catalog to publish their course offerings. Typically, they were printing the PDF version to distribute to residents in person, which was a lengthy document and quickly became out-of-date when changes were made to workshop offerings and scheduled times. With different catalog versions circulating, it became difficult to guarantee consistency and accuracy of the class listings. This approach also made it unlikely that prospective residents would discover the program online due to a lack of SEO, and hindered their ability to search for courses specifically relevant to them, such as by the area they live in. By the time MassHousing approached us, their team was ready for a more streamlined platform for offering this perk, while still integrating with their company’s website for coherency.

The Process

To kick off the build-out process, the MassHousing staff sent us their existing PDF deck of classes. Our team then hit the ground running by uploading those listings to the new catalog site, proofreading for inaccuracies, and creating relevant tags to organize their course content. Once a shell of a site was ready, we began working more closely with the MassHousing team to customize the layout, functionality, and design of the catalog itself. We uploaded custom branding and photography to make the site more impactful, and created templates for easier content management moving forward. Gedstad described the process as being “easier than expected” and the Clean Catalog team as being “super responsive, clear, and helpful.” In less than two months, we were ready to launch their new catalog site, all without the MassHousing team having to type a single digit of data entry.

Our Solutions

Since this was a non-academic approach to our catalog software, we reworked our catalog structure to make better sense for MassHousing’s goals and business model. We began by organizing courses into categories by region, topic, and program type, since there was no academic program or degree to classify them under. Each workshop listing also includes the class time, location, languages offered, class size, and contact person for the workshop. We also implemented a bright red “new program!” tag so that residents can easily identify new workshops that they can attend. Gedstad was very pleased with the final result, saying the software has “made life easier” and that the backend of the catalog site “takes way less time to update class offerings.” Over the years to come, our software’s efficient approach to content management will save their staff countless admin hours. Our team also hosted a demo prior to the catalog launch to ensure each staff member felt comfortable and confident using the software to make updates or publish new classes. They are also better equipped to serve their “students” with a more streamlined list of workshop offerings, which are highly accessible, searchable, and easy to navigate, even for the least tech-savvy of their residents. Their website’s SEO and user engagement are expected to boost in the months to come as a result of these improvements.

Looking Ahead

As MassHousing continues to grow and offers an increasing number of workshops, their catalog site has the functionality to scale and grow with them. While their staff grows more comfortable with the software, our team will continue offering ongoing support as needed. They will also enjoy continual software updates that keep their catalog up-to-date with modern web standards and security measures, without any downtime to their site. All-in-all, Eric Gedstad said he would “absolutely recommend” Clean Catalog to anyone considering switching to software platforms.

We had a blast tackling MassHousing’s unique course catalog request and really enjoyed working with their team to make their vision come to life. If you’re interested in hearing more about this build-out or how we can customize our catalog software to fit non-academic use cases, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Eric Gedstad

Director of Marketing

Clean Catalog has made life easier. It takes way less time to update class offerings.