Why Investing in User Experience Gives You the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

We get it. Research is the last thing you want to spend your time doing. And, far too often, user experience is the last box to check on your company’s “to-do” list. In theory, it should be at the top, but hey, things happen. Your plate gets full, you lose track of time, and it becomes tomorrow’s problem all over again.

Instead of treating the way our customers experience our brand as an afterthought, let’s make it a priority. If bottom lines and profit margins are the goal, how customers get to a purchasing decision should actually be a huge chunk of how we spend our time.

At the end of the day, most companies are wasting huge amounts of time and money by skipping out on this important step in user experience (or “UX”) design.

So, let’s start with the basics. What’s the difference between UX design and UX research?

In the business landscape we’re currently existing in, both of these functions are incredibly important to the success of any company, but there are some differences.

Designers create the experience a potential customer engages in when using your app or website, from start to finish. In other words, how can we use content and technology to achieve our business goals and create a seamless experience for our target market?

To do all of this, we must first understand users’ needs and motivations through user research.

Surveys, usability tests and in-person interviews help to synthesize the goals of the consumer with the goals of the business. An open dialogue with the end user is paramount when attempting to satisfy customer needs. In fact, I don’t think it would be overstating it to say that companies who choose not to invest in user research are jumping into the deep end with no life jacket.

Here at Help On Demand, our customer’s experience is the cornerstone of our business. To put it simply, user research is where it all begins for us. Our success hinges on our ability to keep our promise: that we’ll connect Consumers with Experts faster. We achieve that goal because we understand how our user navigates our site, uses our technology, and is ultimately serviced.

Let us take on the user research and design.

Before you know it, you’ll be reaching your consumers even faster than before. 

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The Importance of Health Insurance

Staying healthy is important, there’s no doubt about it.

But health insurance protects you from risks not only related to your personal health, but your financial security as well.

Nobody plans to get sick, but everybody does at some point. Health insurance acts as a safety net, covering medical costs – sometimes unexpectedly high – you may not have anticipated and allowing you to recover with one less worry. Just to give you a real picture of what an out-of-pocket cost might look like for a common injury, a broken leg can run you as much as $7,500. While insurance might not turn that total to $0, it will considerably reduce it.

A lot of people think of health insurance as a bandaid. But the truth is, it can also do a lot for you before you get sick. Free preventative care covering things like shots, vaccines and check-ups can help you stay healthy in the first place, not get better later.

A common argument against being insured is “But I NEVER get sick”.

Health care is not a decision that should be made based on what has happened to you in the past, but instead what could happen to you in the future. It’s never good to dwell on the “what ifs” in life, but it is good to have a plan in place in case.

In most states, you have from November 1st through December 15th to enroll in health insurance for 2021. When you apply for health insurance through healthcare.gov, you’ll be able to take advantage of Help On Demand’s lightning-speed technology to quickly reach experts who can answer your questions related to coverage, opportunities to save money, and anything else that might be on your mind.

Ready to apply?

Don’t wait. Do it today.

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Influential Women in Healthcare

In honor of Women’s History Month, we thought we would take the time to honor some influential female executives from the various corners of the healthcare industry. Keep reading to learn more about these leaders and their professional accomplishments:


Mary Boosalis
President and CEO
Premier Health, Ohio

Under Boosalis’ leadership last year, Premier Health opened eight urgent care locations and worked to address the opioid epidemic and combat stigmas attached to the very real public health crisis. Their website, www.opioidassist.com provides the general public with more information about addiction. Partly due to this work, overdose deaths have dropped by more than 50% in the area. Not to mention, during her tenure at Premier Health, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of female vice presidents and high-level management.


Dr. Joanne Conroy
President and CEO
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, New Hampshire

Dr. Conroy has been a driving force in the push for the improvement of academic medicine. She has been a vocal advocate for increasing the amount of women in positions of leadership in the healthcare industry, and is an active member of Women in Impact, a group of executives working to address the multi-faceted problems impacting diversity and representation in the industry as a whole.


Dr. Patrice Harris
American Medical Association, Illinois

Dr. Harris is the chair of the AMA’s Opioid Task Force, and is a regular speaker on the issue of gender bias in the healthcare industry as well as the importance of raising national awareness for behavioral health crises.


Dr. Anne Kilbanski
Chief Academic Officer
Partners HealthCare, Massachusetts

Dr. Kilbanski is in charge of a $1.7 billion dollar annual research budget for Partners HealthCare, the system based in Boston. She is also the creator of a scholarship at Massachusetts General Hospital that is designed to support women struggling to keep their jobs in the field due to a lack of childcare assistance.

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Employee Spotlight: Christine Howell

Getting to know Christine Howell, Senior Customer Success Manager

Employee Spotlights is a series meant to showcase the stories of the amazing individuals behind our brand. This month, meet Christine!

Christine has been with us for almost three years now, and is based out of our office in Denver. Let’s learn a little bit more about her!

What’s your role at Help On Demand?

My main objective is to come up with goals through collaboration with the client, and then help them achieve those goals. Basically, I act as the liaison between the client and the technology team.

Talk to us about what makes Help On Demand different – aren’t they just another software company?

Help On Demand stand out to me as a perfect blend of consultation and technology. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more customizable tech company. We’re always looking for new ideas and different ways to facilitate them.

What do you think makes you most effective as a consultant for customers?

I have experience with healthcare exchanges, which can be one of the more confusing aspects of what we do. I’ve always worked with health insurance in some capacity. Before coming over to Help On Demand, I worked to provide medical quote presentations to brokers through the agency I was working with at the time.

What are your hobbies outside of Help On Demand?

I love exploring the mountains and hiking, snowshoeing or camping (always with our dog, Raja). Each summer, my husband and I look forward to conquering a couple 14ers and exploring old ghost towns. I also enjoy traveling to the beach and snorkeling or just lying on the beach reading a good book. Last summer I even snorkeled with whale sharks! It was a blast. Additionally, I’m an avid CrossFit-er and runner, and volunteer as a certified CrossFit coach for the 1twenty7 project, which helps at risk youth and women to build a new form of confidence.

What are some goals you have for yourself or the company as whole during the rest of your time here at Help On Demand?

My main goal, along with my team’s, is to perfect the HOD system to make it as user-friendly as possible. To achieve this goal, I am always trying to anticipate the needs of our users before they actually become needs. Staying ahead of the curve in this way forces us to think outside the box and helps us to satisfy our users year after year. A personal goal of mine is to create a way for our system to deliver real-time reports to our users that would provide a comprehensive summary of the data. By providing these types of reports, we could better express the real-time value of our software and ultimately nurture a strategic relationship where we can expand our program to be used by other departments of our current client companies, as well as new client companies. I love when our clients use us as a long-term partner and work with us on new ways we can provide solutions within their organization. I’ve enjoyed watching Help On Demand grow during my time here, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

If you want to learn more about Christine or ask her any questions, connect with her on LinkedIn!

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New Update: Application Enhancements

How can we continue to improve our user experience? It’s a question we’re always trying to answer.

With new software coming out every day with the goal of simplifying the way we do business, enhancing the functionality of our site and the way we service our customers must remain a consistent priority.

One way that we meet changing customer needs is by completing system enhancements on average at least nine or ten times a year. These enhancements are made by gathering client company feedback, determining market needs, and engaging user experience. We appreciate the continued support of our clients and are excited to announce some improvements to our software.

Recent Enhancements

  • Registration received via text
  • Increased security protocols around user passwords
  • Increased visibility into Expert performance metrics
  • Providing validation checks to prevent referral duplication
  • GovCloud transition
  • Backing from AWS, which allows for flexibility in regards to capacity
  • Increased visibility to user audit trial
  • Experts now have the opportunity to easily select multiple ways of being contact
  • Client companies are now able to customize the Consumer landing page

We hope our enhanced functionality will help you connect faster and make your experience with us as seamless as possible.

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A Guide to California v. Texas

There’s a a lot of information to digest when it comes to the latest case regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so here’s our summary of the background information and some key issues.

There are a lot of big questions at play here, but the main one is, “Do the challengers have legal reasoning behind their case?”

Unfortunately, we may not know the answer to this question until the coming spring, or more probably, later in the year. While we wait, here’s what you need to know.

The case was originally filed in February of 2018. It deals with the constitutionality of the 2010 ACA, specifically the individual mandate which has a penalty of zero for not buying health insurance. Furthermore, if that mandate is unconstitutional, is it severable from the rest of the ACA? Or does everything need to go?

The argument here stems from the fact that according to the constitution, Congress is the branch with the power of taxation. Republicans who were in opposition to the tax lowered the penalty to zero when they controlled Congress in 2017, but left the rest of the ACA intact. In response to this, Republican politicians and state officials in Texas filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a so-called “tax” of zero. In opposition, California led the pack of states to defend the mandate.

The federal court sided with the Republicans, saying that because the individual mandate is no longer valid, the entire ACA must granting both California and Texas’ petition for review. Unsurprisingly, the challenging states are overwhelmingly red, and the defending states are glaringly blue.

Adding to the political intrigue of this lawsuit, Texas will be the first high-profile case of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s career, who was recently appointed after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

So, what could happen?

Most likely, the Court will uphold the status quo. Even with no dollar penalty assigned to the tax, the healthcare marketplace has continued to function relatively normally over the last few years. In fact, nationwide premiums have been decreasing for the most part.

Alternatively, a ruling that some (or all) of the insurance reforms are irrevocably tied to the individual mandate would mean that preexisting conditions might not be protected. If the Court were to throw out all of the ACA, all insurance consumer protections, premium tax credits and many other provisions would be struck down, leaving the markets to suddenly fill the gap. In this case, more than 20 million people could lose their insurance. Most legal experts agree this is the less likely scenario, but still a real possibility.

Despite all of this conjecture on the legality of the ACA, as of today, it remains intact.

We will likely not know the Supreme Court’s decision until early next year at the absolute soonest. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the case and provide any relevant updates.

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Things You Can Suggest to Your Customers About Winter Storms and Homeowners Insurance

One of the first questions you customers are surely asking themselves when picking a homeowners insurance policy is this: “Is winter storm damage covered?”

Snow damage from blizzards and other severe winter weather can be expensive, which is why it’s important to make sure they have all the information on how their specific homeowners insurance policy protects them, their family, and their investments.

If you need numbers to paint a clear picture of just how expensive we’re talking, average homeowner insurance claims can hit around $3,500 – or even higher, if we’re not just talking about a damaged roof.

The good news is, in most cases, your standard insurance policies do cover unavoidable winter storm damage that is caused by ice, snow, severe temperatures, wind, etc.

There is a catch, however.

If your customers have a mountain home that you only get to during the summer months or a condo in a ski town that they’re not visiting this year because of travel restrictions, damage that manifests when homes are left unattended is something that they should be prepared for.

The best way to do that is to encourage them to take the necessary steps to prevent winter damage from happening in the first place.

Here are a few ways everyone can take the first step in protecting their home from another harsh Colorado winter:

  • Make sure to keep your gutters clean! Melting snow can escape easily this way, and you’ll avoid wet, heavy, weighed-down roofs and other snow-related damage.
  • Drain the water from pipes that lead to faucets on the exterior of your home. While you’re at it, put away the garden hoses until spring.
  • Trim the tree branches around your property and steer clear of damage due to fallen limbs. This includes awnings, outbuildings, and any other structures on your land.
  • Make an appointment to have your heating system cleaned and checked out. You’ll want everything to be in working order before colder weather hits!
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Getting to know Aaron Lanahan, Technical Program Manager

Help On Demand has some impressive employees in our ranks. For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’re featuring Aaron Lanahan, a technical program manager here at HOD. We talked with Aaron about his time at HOD, his 10-month old, his CrossFit routine, and more! 

Aaron is based out of our office in Denver. Let’s learn a little bit more about him!

What’s your role at Help On Demand?

My title is officially Technical Program Manager, but I am also our Product Owner & Manager, as well as our Program Manager. My ultimate goal is to look at project feasibility, scalability and cost from a technical perspective, as well as added value, usability and overall company objectives from a strategic perspective.

Talk to us about what makes Help On Demand different – aren’t they just another software company?

I think that we’re slightly different because we take more of a consultative approach with everything we do. We try not to make it a one-sided partnership where they’re just utilizing our platform and we’re hands-off. Whether that’s from a technical stance, a strategy stance or a business and process stance, we try to support them to the best of our abilities. We’re very hands-on, which definitely separates us from others in this space. We’re almost the middle man between the Consumers and the Experts, and because of that we’re really intertwined with our client partners.

What do you think makes you most effective as a consultant for customers?

I think that because we’re a smaller organization, there’s major benefits – when you work with a large organization that has board members and a huge chain of command, it gets tough. If I have questions for leadership on how I can improve, it doesn’t take me four days to get a response. It’s easy for us to stay connected because we’re on the smaller side. Keeping our organization tight-knit allows us to pivot on a dime, drop what we’re doing and move on to the next thing without all the bureaucracy that most major organizations have to deal with. We can make things happen a little bit faster.

What are your hobbies outside of Help On Demand?

I have a 10-month old, so hanging out with him is one of my biggest hobbies. My wife and I enjoy getting out of the house and hiking. I also really like working out, I do CrossFit at a gym every morning. I’ll also admit that I’m a pretty big geek – I’m always looking at where things are going with the industry. Anything technology-related, really.

What are some goals you have for yourself or the company as whole during the rest of your time here at Help On Demand?

I think one of my big things is, “Never stop learning.” Everything around you is continuing to evolve, whether that’s technology or personal development. Continuous learning, growing your knowledge and expanding on the things that you already know is so important. I want the organization to grow and be more successful in terms of scalability with our SalesForce initiative, and providing new tools and avenues for individuals to get connected is really key in my mind. That’s probably my biggest goal for HOD right now.  

Stay tuned for more Help On Demand Employee Spotlights! If you want to learn more about Aaron or ask him any questions, connect with him on LinkedIn!

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Are You Covered for a Catastrophic Event?

A ‘peril’ in terms of the insurance industry is a catastrophic event like a fire or flood that severely damages your property, like a home or other structure. The list of incidents covered under this umbrella is actually pretty long, and might include some things you wouldn’t think of.

Catastrophe insurance can cover perils such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods and against human-made disasters such as a terrorist attack or riot. Although these are low-probability, high-cost events, they are generally excluded from standard home insurance policies. 

Make sure you check your homeowners insurance policy to see what specific events you’re covered for.


It is pretty standard for homes (and surrounding structures like garages and sheds) to be covered against both fire and smoke damage. In a worst case scenario, most policies will even cover relocation costs if a home is damaged so severely a move is required.


Water damage from flood requires a separate insurance policy. But, water damage from other sources like sudden burst pipes generally is covered. It’s important to note that in the case of this sort of damage, wear and tear is not a acceptable cause for a pay out, but accidental, unavoidable damage is.

Hail and Wind

Hail can be bad news for your roof, and it generally comes alongside heavy winds that can be equally as damaging. The good news is, this kind of damage is normally covered – yes, even if it’s caused by a tornado. Make sure you read your policy though, as there are sometimes exclusions.

Ice and Snow

If the added weight of heavy winter snow and ice causes a cave-in, you should be covered my most policies.

Vandalism and Theft

While vandalism and theft aren’t natural perils like many of the ones we’ve discussed, they can seriously impact homeowners. Most of the time, policies protect against this kind of damage, especially if an intruder breaks windows or doors in the process. The caveat here is that there is generally a limit in terms of just how much an insurance company can pay out regarding this kind of loss.

If you don’t have insurance, it’s time to get a quote and protect what matters most to you. With Help On Demand, you can easily find an insurance agent, get helpful info, and most importantly, get covered.

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