How Easy: BetterHelp and Its Onboarding Process (Desktop)

November 5, 2022

How good is the user experience when it comes to online therapy?

In my previous article, I mentioned how my interest in therapy and its alternatives had grown recently. I even went as far as completing the onboarding process of the BetterHelp website to check how easy it is to get professional help with their platform.

So what's BetterHelp, you wonder? BetterHelp is an online platform that provides individuals, couples, and teens with an option to sign-up for unconventional and comfortable professional therapy.

Making professional therapy accessible, affordable, and convenient so anyone who struggles with life's challenges can get help, anytime and anywhere.

The company was founded in 2013, but when I first heard about it was during the times when we all spend so much time indoors and in front of our screens, and when we all desperately needed connection with others and a much more needed way to vent. I heard about the platform through a YouTube channel that also does comedy and podcast episodes on pop culture topics (they also offer a promo code if you are interested).

While doing my research the first thing I wish they would include was a back button, so I could change some of my answers with more accurate ones for example. It is understandable that for a better match with a therapist you need to provide lots of information (hence the long onboarding process), but I expect that the designers were thinking also of how accurate that information can be. Especially near the middle and end of the onboarding process, when I personally just clicked the answers quickly because I skimmed through them. Also nowhere did I find or remember reading anything about how important this input is and if I can change it at any time. Hmmm *recalling the process*.

Dark background with white font saying: When long is too long�
Patience and questionnaires.

So I deleted my profile and started the onboarding all over again (for science). I ignored the Login option the first and second time and went straight forward to the hero section where under the headline "You deserve to be happy." was a prompt question: What type of therapy are you looking for? I pressed one of the CTAs (call-to-action) buttons labelled "Individual", "for myself" and started the onboarding process that is described as a "short questionnaire" which seemingly has eight steps.

Before consenting and giving my sensitive protected data under the EU laws (I don't know why but they also put it in single quotes), I read the sentence where it says: Your answers will also give this therapist a good starting point in getting to know you. So my answer's accuracy is important, right?

  • Starting with the gender identity question. Options are woman, man, and More options (including the choices: Prefer not to answer and Other if you still don't like to answer).
  • The second question is about your age and is combined with an accurate dropdown of numbers, not ranges, and some random fact about depression while I am still in the first step out of those eight I mentioned earlier, so the progress bar doesn't help me anticipate the end of this process at all.
  • The third question is phrased as "How do you identify?" when you ask about your sexuality (more options are available too).
  • Forth is about your relationship status, and gosh I am still stuck on that first step! How much more is left until the end?! *slowly starting to get anxious and overwhelmed once more*.
  • Short and sweet Yes or No question if you are religious. No other details by the way or options for that matter. I wonder if this is the only question related to something as important as a belief system.
  • Here it is: 3 main religions are given as options. Another info prompt under the options says that the therapists are from very diverse backgrounds and I can request a Christian therapist if I want *shaking my head in millennial European*. And here comes my frustration as a user. I click the fourth option labelled Other in expectation to see if I can type or choose another religion, but instead, I am forwarded to the next question. Argh! I want to go back and change it. I do hit the back button on my browser and please guess what happens!
Betterhelp wireframe of questionnaire question form and the progress bar.
Betterhelp wireframe of the questionnaire question form and the progress bar that doesn't progress easily.

Yes, I am back on the Homepage with all previous inputs discarded. In desperate hope, I click on CTA labelled as Individual again in some kind of naive hope that I will be returned where I left off. Well, I am back to square one: Am I a woman, or a man, or do I fall into the more options?

To be summarised, a warning that my inputs won't be saved if I go back or an internet error occurs would have been nice. I think any user would appreciate a heads-up of any sort when it comes to an important yet lengthy process like this one. Very few of the questions truly are important for matching you with the right therapist. In my opinion, the predominant number of the questions are merely to have a better insight into their user's backgrounds and not to forget their marketing purposes. The rest of the questions are for accurate calculation of your subscription plan. I just wonder why they chose to crunch everything in one. I wish I have timed my first attempt for completing this process. Unfortunately, creating an account happens further in the questionnaire so the only option (for now) is to push through it.

Sorry guys, today, Friday late afternoon, science and patience were with me only until here. Maybe, you give it a try and let me know how easy and seamless the experience is for you.

P.s. To give you some heads-up, you will receive a message from your therapist when you are matched with one (and if you complete it) but before you participate in the conversation, you will hit a paywall first for a weekly price payment billed every four weeks. Good luck and thank you so much for reading until the end!

Conversation starters for the comment section:

  • Do you know other alternatives to traditional therapy?
  • Do you use any other online service or platform? What is your experience with it?
  • Is therapy still a taboo topic in your country or region?

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