Watching Jill struggling to track down the best option for her mother gave me an idea. We had been working in the travel industry, developing website reservations systems and providing voice reservations services for hotels and we’d been doing it for years. I thought, “How hard would it be to use the technology we’ve developed to find the right hotel, and create a website to find the right Senior Living Community?” The user would enter their specific needs and payment preferences. The system would present Communities and rate them based on the degree to which they met the user’s requirements. Well, after a year and a half of development we found that it wasn’t that easy…but it was doable.
We found that some users were familiar with senior living needs and services. They knew what type of Community they were looking for and wanted to move along quickly to the Search Criteria section. For users such as Jill, we needed to be able to offer information on-the-fly to help them make intelligent choices during the search process. So, in the Community Type section, we added, “Help me choose what works best for my situation.” Additionally, we added a help button to each step, with tips on how to proceed. And, if the way forward was still unclear, the user can call one of us at 877-243-8073 for personal help.