CSS is pleased to announce the launch of the Framingham Housing Authority’s newly redesigned website (www.framinghamhousingauthority.org) as its 77th anniversary approaches.
Revitalizing the Online Identity for Framingham Housing Authority
Another website contract down! CSS is proud to carry on our partnership with the FHA by developing and launching their newly redesigned website last month. The modernization of the FHA’s website provides a user-friendly experience for families and individuals seeking information on deeply affordable housing options in Middlesex County, as well as for current FHA residents and Housing Choice Voucher program participants, vendors, and landlords interested in accepting Housing Choice Vouchers.
The CSS team is no stranger to the world of web development, we had built several websites prior to working with the FHA since the establishment of the company in 2014. In 2018, CSS was on-boarded by the FHA for the initial redevelopment of the Framingham Authority’s website. In addition to the web work we did back then, CSS actually also designed an official logo and deployed a Facebook Page for the FHA to manage. This multi-layered digital approach has enhanced communications with the public and continues to be a rewarding and exciting project for our design team.
With the passing of several years and a global pandemic, the occasion for our team to embark on a website revamp in 2022 came at an appropriate time which is generally consistent with best practices for redesign work. After accepting the contract, our creative team met with FHA staff to review their site and gather detailed notes that would allow for their users to navigate the site comfortably and freely.
“The Housing Authority’s website redesign is part of our ongoing commitment to exceptional customer service,” said FHA Executive Director, Paul Landers. “Our website’s new look and simplified navigation not only makes our housing information more accessible, it also enables our residents to quickly and easily access information about educational opportunities, job training, and health and wellness programs.”
“I like the way that the website is set up,” said Janet Bibo, Executive Assistant/Office Manager, who helped test the site. “It helps users learn more about things that are going on at FHA.”
"We are so grateful that the Framingham Housing Authority consulted with our company to help them to redesign their site. Having started my career in Framingham, a vested interest will always exist in my heart to make sure the FHA receives the best support services possible. The visitors of the Authority's website deserve an easily navigable platform that is transparent in its function and makes valuable information accessible to all, especially given the changes which the COVID-19 have introduced in all of our daily lives.” said Mike Tusino, CCO, Capital Strategic Solutions.
What The Client Wanted
Simply put, the FHA staff had one main objective to redo the website, and that was to make it easier and faster for site visitors to find the most commonly accessed content. This created an opportunity for us to audit the existing layout and update the look and feel of their existing website with a new framework and modern user interface.
Our Redesign Goals
Allow users to easily navigate the site with little-to-no technical knowledge or experience.
Provide an easier way to edit and deploy new pages and content.
Increase the site's UI and structure with a new sitemap and page flow.
Meet Standards for Accessible Design outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
[Want to learn more about website accessibility? Check out our blog!]
It can be said that the FHA user base may not be the most tech savvy, so a challenging aspect of this job involved producing a ton of content and areas to navigate but displayed in a simple fashion with a clear user path. Another challenge came from updated branding and adding new features to their site like grids for housing applications, archives, and a customized form to tailor user experiences.
Steps We Took
As stated before, our strategy came from a place of simplicity, looking to provide a user experience that would take 1-3 clicks to get where they wanted to go. The FHA provides an exhaustive amount of information and resources for their users, and oftentimes that can be lost in the design of the site. We created unique experiences for the six areas of their site (this helps build familiarity with the user within the layout and color theory used in each section):
Information for Applicants
Information for Tenants
FHA Policies and Plans
Current Procurement Solicitations
What We Achieved
Block design with color theory to help funnel users into the right areas.
Custom CMS design and development using Wordpress.
Streamlined accessibility to state and federal housing resources.
Improved user experience non-native English speakers.
Improved back-end management of FHA assets.
Better load times, influencing higher rankings on Google.
Map locator added for zip code search of FHA owned properties.
Building More Than Housing
Every FHA community, with beautiful design and contemporary amenities, exemplifies how affordable housing not only builds homes — it builds stability, pride and a vibrant culture. The newly redesigned FHA website reflects this, featuring messaging and design to rival any of the upscale, high-rent complexes in the City of Framingham.
The FHA’s website received 11,747 active visitors last year in 2021, and 30,768 unique page views. The most popular pages included those containing housing application information, housing waitlists, and details about the agency’s public and subsidized housing communities. CSS looks forward to measuring website metrics over the coming year to help track the FHA’s return on investment, and identify areas of improvement for the redesign.
ABOUT CAPITAL STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS
How Our Team Supports Public Housing Authorities
Housing is the foundation on which strong communities are built, and the demand for affordable housing has never been greater. However, the competition for dwindling public funds is formidable. We understand first-hand the need to differentiate your brand and powerfully communicate how essential your work is to decision makers in particular and community members in general.
Website Development and Redesign Services
At Capital Strategic Solutions, we work with our clients to ensure that their websites and communications are developed to be inclusive for all constituents. CSS also specializes in Massachusetts Public Records Law and social media outreach in addition to website development…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you are interested in these types of services and/or learning more about what we do, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-690-0046.