Problem Definition

Examly - UX Case Study

Empowering College Students to prepare smartly for Campus Recruitments


Monthly increase in adoption rate


Student satisfaction score of the first version


More students cleared the recruitment tests


Project Background


Examly (now rebranded as is an online learning & evaluation platform designed for a college ecosystem where the staffs can create practice & evaluation tests aimed at preparing students for campus recruitment tests.

Interviews & tests are usually a gruelling and unenthusiastic part of a student's life. I lead the effort in designing an experience which is comfortable for the college student to use without piling onto the stress.

My scope of work

UX Designer

User Experience, User Research, User Interface & Visual Design

Jan 2017 - Aug 2018

Team structure

  • CEO & Product team
  • 1 UX Designer
  • 1 Graphic Designer
  • 6 Developers
  • 3 Marketing/Business Analysts


In the final year campus recruitments, students were struggling to prepare for the company recruitments and clear it. Placement Officers were also facing difficulty in resolving this as they were already piled up with enough manual work on their plate.

Who are our target users?

College Placement Officers

College staffs responsible for bringing in companies for recruitment and overseeing the students preparation.


To be more specific, these are the students who belong to pre-final and final years and were preparing for campus placements.

This case study's focus

01 - Empathise & RESEARCH

What difficulties are the students facing?

Primary Research

Okay, so the first step was to understand our target users. We were situated in Coimbatore, a city with the highest number of colleges and universities in the state. So it was relatively simple to establish contact with the students and arrange for user interviews.

We picked a total of 8 students from two leading colleges and students from other not so leading ones to understand the issues from both sides of the spectrum.

These interviews' goal was to understand how each of their colleges' functions regarding the placements, the support they get from the placement officers, and their difficulties.

Secondary Research

We had already established contacts with many countrywide colleges and their students through our sister business which provides placement training. We used those contacts to send surveys to the students to understand their pain points.

The main objectives of this survey, which was answered by ~140 students, were to understand how the pain points vary across a wider audience and any different kinds of difficulties they're facing.

And one more thing to add here is that I was also a fresher just out of college at that point. I just had gone through my placements, and I knew first-hand how it works and the pains I experienced. So I introspected and noted down my pain points.

I observed whether students' pain points were similar to mine through my research methods.  I knew I should not get biased from my own opinions, and I waited to get affirmation of my pain points from my different modes of research before proceeding with it.


And the problem was...

Now that we have obtained various inputs and made observations, we sat down with our product team and CEO for the analysis part. We did affinity mapping, grouped all our observations under large buckets, and a pattern emerged. These were the three significant insights we obtained

Lack of early awareness of the visiting companies

They didn't have enough time to prepare as a result of this.

Confusion on the recruitment process

Each company has its process, and there is no reliable source for knowing about it.

Lack of preparation resources and tools

Students didn't have any way to prepare other than referring to unreliable online websites.

Each company had their recruitment process, and it also differs year to year. Since the students were not aware of it, researching outdated processes on the web or through friends was unreliable.

As a result, they were taken aback by the actual questions asked in the first round of screening tests.

This problem also affected their mental state of mind during the test. They get pressured and were not able to think through the questions in front of them.


How might we enable students to adequately prepare for their campus recruitment tests & increase their visibility of the visiting companies and their respective recruitment processes?


Setting the project goals...

Like everyone, we wanted a quantifiable metric to see whether we are solving the user pain points. But of course, the business also is essential. We were a small startup, and of course, we had to stay afloat to solve the problem for our users consistently. So after arriving at the final user pain points, we put down our business goal as well.


Getting our creative juices flowing

We had 3 synthesised problem areas to work with

First, we diverged. Myself, the PM and the CEO worked in coming up with different possible ideas to solve the user needs and achieve the above goals.

Diverge - Brainstorm all possible ideas

We analysed the ideas from all possible factors - Goals, User Needs, Business Needs. Then, we identified the best idea from the idea dump for each of the problems, and we used a modified version of Brainwriting for improving it. This approach worked extremely well as it was a collaborative activity, and we came up with a final solution idea that we all were satisfied with.

Converge - Picked best ideas and improved it


A fully integrated system for Students, Placement Officers and Companies where Students will have their own portal to view detailed campus recruitment information.  They will have access to Company Specific Mock Tests and Study Materials for effective preparation.

Business Goal

Begin capturing the market for automated solutions in campus recruitment, training and evaluation.


  • Angular - Responsive Web App
  • Node Web kit - Desktop App

Key success factor

Getting a reputed college to successfully use it in production with high satisfaction.

Design Process


Getting our hands dirty...

Information Architecture

Initial Sketches

Based on this Information Architecture diagram, here are some basic sketching explorations I made:

Course listing page design explorations
Test taking page component sketches
Drive details page sketch
Few component explorations for Test Analysis page


To bring in more recruitment drive visibility to the students

“I don't have a proper visibility of the planned recruitment drives in my college. Most of the announcement comes in late.”

Ranjith Shastri, Final year student

Students typically get informed about the planned drives through excel sheets or mails and that is also not too much in advance.

“I need to follow up multiple times with the placements office to get to know the recruitment process”

Sarah Idhayan, Final year student

Each company has its own recruitment process and rounds. Students need to be aware of it so that they're not caught offguard.

To solve the problem of the students not getting to know what were the planned recruitment drives in their college, we created a directory of them. But the thing here is that it should convey much more than just the company name and the date.

As per our primary & secondary research, we included all the supporting information which the students said they wished to know, such as the starting salary, job location, job type etc., in the directory.

To address the second part of this problem, bringing more awareness of the recruitment process, we created a separate page for each recruitment drive that provides in-depth information regarding the job and its recruitment rounds.

And not just that, the students can directly apply to the drives which they're interested in, see their status and results instantly without any manual communication.


Recruitment Drive Listing and Drive Details


An Integrated solution for Students, Placement Officers and Companies

Now you might ask,
"Gowtham, all this sounds fine. But from where are we going to get the information regarding the drives, status and all that?". I knew you might ask that.

Examly is an integrated solution for students and placement officers. Placement Officers will have their portal to update this information which will also aid in their tracking.

Also, we have a separate company portal as well from where they could manage all their drives.

When all these three portals work together, the drive results will be instantly available to the students once the company releases it—no manual intervention from the Placement Officers other than a single click approving the communication to the students.

As per my competitor research, no such integrated solution provider specifically targeted campus recruitments, making us a market differentiator.


Helping the students to prepare smartly for the companies they're interested in.

Now the students know what companies are visiting their college for recruitments. Since each company has their recruitment test patterns, they have to prepare specifically for each of them.

“The study materials, practice booklets etc., are scattered all over the place and maintaining them itself is a separate chore.”

Ranjith Shastri, Final year student

Organised content is gold. Students deserve the content organised in a central place where they could easily find it.

“Internet research does yield the list of topics to concentrate for each company, but most of it is not reliable or outdated.”

Arun Gnanasekar, Final year student

Students mainly were preparing using unreliable online resources and so-called previous year questions, which wasn’t the right way to go.

We provided ‘Company Specific Practice Materials and Tests’. It would have practice tests and study materials based on each company’s recruitment test pattern.

For example, if ‘Company A’ concentrates more on Aptitude & Grammar in their screening test, the course module for this company would have the exact type of Aptitude & Grammar questions they ask.

We would have a team behind the scenes work carefully gathering these questions based on the previous year and other college experience. It would be optional in the app's pricing model. Placement Officers can also create their custom course modules and provide them to the students.

Company Specific Mock Tests is one of the standout features of the Examly product. In addition to providing Company Specific Study Materials, we also offered simulated practice tests based on each company's pattern.

More information on the Mock practice test user flow in the next section.


Courses, Study Materials and Practice Tests


Enabling the students to be ‘Recruitment Ready.’

“I failed to qualify for a company because there were questions which I wasn’t aware of, and I panicked in that situation.”

Arun Gnanasekar, Final year student

Interviews and Recruitment tests were new to students, and nerves were high. So how can we increase the confidence of the students to face the recruitment tests?

“I think I have prepared well and am confident. But I flop in my recruitment tests. Maybe I should have prepared more”

Parvati Krish, Final year student

It was not the amount of preparation that mattered. Students didn’t realise they lacked in few areas because primarily, they were practising the same questions over & over again.

The main reason for providing Mock Tests was those study materials alone will not be enough for the student's preparation.

This is where the solution to the third problem comes in. Hence, we simulated how the actual interview environment will look like with the timers, instructions, etc.

Students can take these simulated mock tests based on the Company’s recruitment pattern to prepare mentally and the pressure of the D-Day.

We supported more than 8+ question types to allow the students to practice the broadest range of questions.

Since taking any test or examination is always stressful, we wanted to make it as soothing as possible. Therefore, we kept the UI & the experience minimal with as few distractions as possible, including having the test UI occupy the whole screen removing the app header and menu sidebar.

After the test ends, I designed a results page where the students can see the overall statistics and the individual question results in each section. Students can also retake the test if it’s allowed by the Admin (Placement Officer).


Company Specific Mock Tests and Results


We did identify two missing gaps...

With this feature set, we developed the MVP of the product, and we made it live for our beta users. Students were pretty pleased with the overall experience, and it was a smooth start to our journey. But I still had the nagging feeling that there is something important missing. Students were happy, but I couldn’t see that excitement. Also, the retention rate was on the lower side.

I dug in further, and I discovered that to be genuinely beneficial to the students, I should be addressing the following two areas:

  1. How can I help the students stay motivated and energised to keep practising?
  2. One of the most significant problem areas here was that students could not accurately identify their strong and weak points.


Bringing in the energy to keep practising

The factors as to why the students drop off in the middle of practising was that

  1. Lack of quick gratification. They did not get any immediate pleasure in practicing.
  2. People usually get motivated to continue doing something when they have a friend who is doing the same thing.
  3. Retention was coming down because the experience was monotonous.

The first two are related to each other in a way. So I deduced that if we could provide an experience where the students can see where they stand compared to others or their previous attempts, it might be motivating. Based on this ideology, we started off with showing gratification messages for motivation.

A Contests feature were also in the works to eliminate the app's monotonous experience. Here, the students can participate and compete with their college mates and people from other colleges. But, again, I designed the contests to be tailored for a specific company or general recruitment first-round questions.


Enable students to identify and work on their weaker areas

The reason why our current experience did not solve this problem was because

  1. Students can retake a particular test but couldn't get deeper insights on how far they have improved.
  2. There wasn't a way to evaluate your skillsets based on the performance across all the tests.

I designed a flow where the students can directly compare their performances across different attempts.


Product Impact

✅ Positives

  • 51% Monthly increase in adoption rate

    Some of the leading colleges in Coimbatore adopted Examly to use in their placement process and training.

  • Average Rating of 8.2/10 from ~3000 students

    After consolidating user testing and feedback survey results, the average user delight rating was satisfactory with room for improvement.

  • +45% more recruitment first round clearance.

    Students with their additional preparation were able to clear the recruitment tests in higher numbers.

“I love the concept of Examly and my experience of using it. It's highly beneficial, and it helped me to streamline my preparation.”

Arun Gnanasekar, Final year student

💬 Areas of Improvement

  • How can we make even the non-interested students more motivated to practice for the recruitment?
  • Sometimes even the Placement officers won’t know too many details about the recruitment rounds or questions. So how can we help the students in that case?
  • The web app is Mobile responsive but did not have a dedicated mobile app that the students wanted.

“I never was interested in studies, but I want to get a job. But I don’t exactly look forward to taking more tests.”

Parvati Krish, Final year student


Understanding of end to end design process

This was my first project in my full-time UX Career, and I learned a lot about business, research, and design.

Working with cross functional teams

I regularly collaborated with the Product, Marketing and Dev team, and it was a good learning experience.

Visual design skills

Coming from a graphic design background, I learnt a lot about understanding the Web technical constraints and designing UIs.

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