Case Study — Weatherford College

Our team worked with Weatherford to customize their catalog format, create admin workflows, and design custom headers for their user-interface in just a few short weeks.

We recently worked with Weatherford College to update their preexisting PDF catalog with a more modern approach. Our team worked with Weatherford to customize their catalog format, create admin workflows, and design custom headers for their user-interface in just a few short weeks.

The Challenges

Before switching to Clean Catalog, Weatherford College created their course catalogs in Adobe InDesign and then saved them online as PDFs. This proposed a roadblock to any staff member who wanted to make a catalog update but didn’t have Adobe software installed on their computer or weren’t familiar with using the software. As a result, very few staff members could make updates to the catalog independently. Instead, changes would have to be requested and then added as addendums to the PDF.

Not only was this a tedious process for the staff at Weatherford, but it allowed the possibility of multiple catalog versions circulating online. Since the catalog was formatted as a PDF, students reviewing course offerings had limited access to the catalog on smart devices and it was difficult to guarantee that the version they were viewing was the most up-to-date.

The Process

The Weatherford team considered several catalog software products before selecting Clean Catalog software based on its easy-to-use interface, hands-off migration process, and affordability. Once Weatherford’s PDF version was handed off to the Clean Catalog team, we completed a full-service migration. Our team did the heavy lifting to transfer Weatherford’s old catalog content to their new online catalog system in a few short weeks. During that time, we communicated with several departments at Weatherford to build the undergraduate catalog, student handbook, faculty directory, and master syllabi repository, all housed on the same site.

Once the new catalog was built, we collaborated with Weatherford’s Director of Creative Services to design a site that met the college’s brand standards and design preferences. We provided multiple custom design mock-ups and worked with her to iterate and come up with something they loved. Katie Edwards told us that the process of switching from their previous catalog to Clean Catalog was “actually much easier than expected. I did have to go in and make sure everything transferred over, but that was all I had to do. They were also very patient as we were in the design process.”

Our Solutions

Maximizing accessibility for both students and faculty was a priority when building Weatherford’s new catalog system. One of Katie Edwards’ concerns with their previous catalog was that it “wasn’t easily searchable and updating it required just adding PDF pages as addendums.” Their new catalog’s interface allows students to easily search by degree, program, course name, or credit hours, rather than needing to scroll through a several-hundred-page PDF file. Clean Catalog also has multiple options for handling addenda and we worked with the Weatherford staff on where this information should live on their site. They chose to manage their addenda on a stand-alone addenda page where they can note and explain changes as they happen and include a link to the relevant page. These two key updates have made updating and monitoring catalog content much more efficient for the staff.

The user-friendly software has also empowered Weatherford College’s faculty to make edits and additions to the catalog independently. With workflows in place for administrators to sign-off on changes and the ability to restore previous versions, the staff are able to make catalog updates without the concern of overwriting or deleting important content.

Weatherford also opted to create a group of “super admins.” Super admins are a special feature offered by Clean Catalog that allows one group of users to have full access to editing and updating the catalog. These users can publish content immediately without needing the content approved, which allows department heads to make quick changes and additions to the catalog. Katie Edwards told us that the software made her life easier by allowing her to “farm our changes to other departments” and by “reducing duplication of efforts for our website.”

Looking Ahead

Since introducing their new online catalog, Weatherford faculty and students have both enjoyed greater accessibility to course information and confidence that the information they’re viewing is up-to-date. Rather than downloading a large PDF file onto their computer, they’re now able to access the catalog from any device with a load speed of only 247 milliseconds. This improved load speed will be critical during course enrollment periods when the Weatherford website will experience high traffic volumes.

The catalog format and accessibility will also be advantageous when applying for accreditation. Weatherford College is currently accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). When their accreditation is up for renewal, their new course catalog software will streamline the process of submitting an application. Their staff will be able to quickly locate and download needed information from their website, including previous course catalogs, as required on the SACSCOC application.

As with all of our customers, Clean Catalog continues to offer ongoing support to the Weatherford staff. We encourage them to send us requests for software improvements and provide support ranging from ongoing staff tutorials to full-scale redesigns of their catalogs. If you’re interested in switching to Clean Catalog for your course catalog software, contact us at [email protected].

Katie Edwards

Executive Director of Creative Services

Switching from our previous catalog to Clean Catalog was actually much easier than I expected.