Housing Handbook Redesign

A 41-page PDF converted to a series of web pages with usability improvements

Northern Illinois University

I worked with Housing and Residential Services to revise their 41-page Housing Handbook into a format that works great for the web. The old method of uploading a PDF to their website carried over from an old practice of distributing a print version of the handbook to residents when they moved in.


By converting the PDF into a series of interactive web pages, Housing gained some benefits:

  1. Housing staff can share links to individual headings, paragraphs, or list items and send those links to residents
  2. A clear navigation and table of contents makes it easy to jump to different sections in the handbook
  3. Making edits to the handbook is now easier
  4. The handbook can now link to other information on niu.edu instead of duplicating that information in a PDF

Sharing Links

Anchors that appear on hover let staff and students share links to individual headings, paragraphs, or list items. It wasn't possible to accomplish something like this with a PDF. Uses AnchorJS.

Table of Contents

A table of contents based on headings is generated client-side. Due to limitations in NIU's content management system, a client-generated table of contents provided the best solution in terms of maintainability.

A table of contents