UX Design + Product Development

Veterans Law Group

Committed to helping wounded warriors

Challenge

When Veterans Law Group hired ONE400 to design a web app for calculating disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, we were given a chance to exercise our own company mission as well as improve the client’s services. By developing a benefits web app for veterans, we’d help provide legal aid for an under-served population.

The new web app would have two functions: give veterans a fast estimate when visiting Veterans Law Group’s site on their own; and serve as a tool for VLG staff to calculate potential compensation during in-person consultations. The calculator would generate estimates using VLG’s own mathematical algorithm, which the ONE400 team would need to understand thoroughly to ensure functionality and a smooth user experience.

It was also essential that the calculator fit all screen sizes—up to 70 percent of veterans would be using it on handheld devices. The web app also needed to be adaptable to the VA’s shifting benefit policies, a requirement calling for an innovative approach.

Strategy

A new calculator web app for Veterans Law Group would quickly become obsolete unless flexibility was built into its structure. Typically, a relatively constricting JavaScript framework would be employed, requiring expensive custom-coding for future alterations. To produce an easily modifiable web app, we used React, a newer JavaScript library that enabled an adaptable design from the start. This modular assembly would easily accept new features and add-ons, ’’future-proofing’’ it for changes to VA disability programs. The web app could also be embedded easily into VLG’s existing website without costly back-end modifications.

Within the web app itself, we designed a simple, engaging user interface that would revise a visitor’s disability rating when they entered new data. The heart of our UX strategy was to distill VLG’s algorithmic calculations into a clear, interactive display of the VA’s disability segments.

Crucially, along with its seamless user experience, the web app was built to be ’’mobile-first’’ from the ground up, while still being functional in a desktop setting on VLG’s site.

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Results

The new web app has been a great success: It gives quick disability guidance for veterans and is used firm-wide by Veterans Law Group staff to estimate compensation for customers. The calculator is easy to read and crisply displays the VA’s three primary disability buckets. The complexity of both the VA benefits system and VLG’s algorithm and technical charts are translated into one clear, accurate output. Enabling customers to add disabilities and see their cumulative rating updated in real time has been key to the web app’s outstanding user experience.

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Meeting an essential criterion, the calculator is fully functional on mobile devices and all browser and screen sizes. Incorporating flexibility into the back-end design with React also allows the web app to be easily converted into a native mobile app in the future.

By placing potentially transformative data directly in the user’s hands, the web app assists VLG’s mission to secure equitable compensation for former service members. Streamlining this process also supports ONE400’s commitment to increase the availability of equal justice—especially for the 80 percent of the public with insufficient or no access to the law.

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