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Exam Pro

Case study for a responsive web app that allows users to connect with proven experts who can help with passing common academic exams such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or CAE (Cambridge Advanced English) exams.

These exams open doors to universities abroad, emigration, and career advancement, so it needs to be right.


Find-an-expert apps are commonplace on the net and to some extent, they work well.  However, I discovered that a lot of users are not satisfied with the type of experts they can find online.

Experts can also become jaded with such apps as they find they can be undercut by unqualified experts, and also exploited by the app itself where they find they are doing all of the leg work and providing all the materials; only for the app to take a large commission from them.

I wanted to build an app that would meet the needs of the users and do what it says on the tin. The app had to be easy and intuitive to use without too much guesswork. 


I decided to build Exam Pro. Here users (both learners and experts) can benefit from a quality service where experts are guaranteed to deliver a good service at a fair price and users can feel safe that they are in good hands for preparing for their exams.


  • Google Drawings

  • Figma

  • Whiteboard

  • Pen & Paper

  • Optimal Workshop

  • UsabilityHub (A/B test)

  • Skype

  • WebAim


  • 1 UX designer

My Role

  • UX designer

  • UX researcher


  • Overall: 8+ weeks

  • Discovery & Research: 2+ weeks

  • Design & testing: 6 weeks

Design Process

Competitive Analysis

To help me get some inspiration, I took a look at the competition that is out there. Two very popular web apps are italki and Preply. I did a S.W.O.T analysis of their apps to see if I could find out what they are doing right (or wrong). It yielded some interesting information. This includes:

  • Both apps have massive followings.

  • Both offer many languages.

  • Both have huge numbers of teachers signed up.

  • It is not clear if the teachers available are professionals. 

  • They are very competitively priced which could be demotivating for potential teachers.

  • Students are spoiled for choice, but may not find exactly the teacher they need. 

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

User Research (Interviews)

For this part of my research, I conducted interviews with both quantitative and qualitative questions. I used the data to compile Affinity maps to add more insights into how Exam Pro would take shape.

It seems that:

  • There does not seem to be an app that is solely for preparing for an exam.

  • Potential users would like a professional teacher with assurances they are capable.

  • Teachers should have in-depth knowledge of a particular exam.

  • A broad range of exams should be available to users.

  • Teachers should be quick and easy to find.

Below you can see more in-depth findings.

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

User Personas

After collecting such useful insights from the participants of my survey, I went ahead and created some user personas. This was to help me empathize with future users and get to the root of what they really need with an app like mine. You can see a couple of them here.

Case Study: Exam Pro

Case Study: Exam Pro

User Flows

Before I started sketching out any wireframes for the app, it was logical to put together some user flows, just to see how easily and quickly the users could get from the start point to their success criteria. I've included a couple of them below.

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

Site Map

& Low-fidelity wireframes

I also needed to figure out what the sitemap would look like while taking into consideration the user flows. From the feedback I'd received from the first interviewees, I knew that it had to be easy to navigate without any sticking points. 

Once I'd put together my initial sitemap, I also implemented a card sorting exercise so I could further gauge what information users would expect to find under certain headings. 

I used a card-sorting app online via Optimal Workshop and posted the test on social media. I certainly got some interesting results. 

  • I realised that my original map was not the best it could be.

  • Using feedback from the card sort I rearranged some of the items from the original map.

 Here are the before and after versions.

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

Low-Fidelity Wireframes

For this next part, I had to put pen to paper and start getting some ideas down about how the app would look. In the following images, you can see my first low-fidelity wireframes with explanations of important assets. I took inspiration from several different apps that all feature components and design patterns that users are familiar with. I learned quite a lot during this stage, it makes a world of difference if you stick to the usual patterns and designs that users are familiar with. ​​​​​​​

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Now that I had a rough idea of what the app was going to look like, I set to work with the next step - mid-fidelity wireframes. For these, I put together, onboarding, signing up, searching & booking an expert, and messaging an expert. I used Figma for these iterations.

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

Usability Testing

(Working Prototype)

Now it was time to test my prototype. I made sure to follow best practices and make sure participants knew that I would not be passing their data on to third parties or doing anything untoward with their information. 

All tests were scheduled to be moderated and take place either face-to-face or online using Figma as the source for the prototype. Here I learned that it is always better to have a few extra participants in reserve in case they can't all make it on the big day.  I needed six for a workable amount of data, but I recruited eight, just in case. 

When users tested my app, I could observe any pain points or any positive responses they might have either visually or non-verbally.  If any problems did occur, I would rate them with Jakob Nielson's scale.

Once all the tests were done, I got out my sticky notes and created another affinity map. After that, all of my observations were compiled into rainbow spreadsheets so I could visualize the data further to find common pain points.

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

The interviews and these spreadsheets yielded some great information, from both what I saw participants do and say, and would help to shape the high-fidelity version of the app. In total, I identified five issues that need to be dealt with, and so I made necessary changes to the app design. I rated these issues according to the Neilson scale. These issues were:

  • Search button not clear - high severity

  • Users could not return home from taskbar - high severity

  • The title text was mistaken for a button - high severity 

  • Booking times were confusing - high severity

  • Card payment options were a little confusing - medium severity

The biggest headache here was figuring out the search and filter UI functions, I ended up totally redesigning this feature.

​​​​​​​Below you can see the before and after versions with the different search and filter buttons.

Case Study: Exam Pro

Preference Test & Style Guide

For some of the smaller issues concerning the appearance of the app that came up in the onboarding section, I carried out some A/B preference tests to better decide on which design to use. You can see the results below.

Case Study: Exam Pro

UI Design (Style Guide)

Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro
Case Study: Exam Pro

Once the initial testing had been carried out and all the issues from the usability testing had been ironed out, I got to work on the colour palette for the app. This was not that easy. I wanted to go with lighter colours but still could not get there with the primary colour I was using. I started out with a pale blue as my primary colour and red for my secondary colour. Unfortunately, this did not work well for accessibility. 

I reached out to some of my peers for more eyes on the design to see if I was missing anything and being biased. They came back with some great suggestions.

This included the size of the font in places, the colours being hard to look at, and my iconography looking a bit stretched in places. I addressed these issues and tidied up the app.

After checking the app for accessibility and looking at suitable colours that contrast well with each other, I settled on the latest iteration. Areas that were not so easy to see have been improved like the expert profile cards, and the size and colour of the text in input fields. You can see some final touch-ups from version 1 (in the blue colour) to version 2 (in the white smoke colour).

To see the prototype in action, please click this "Exam Pro" link.

Case Study: Exam Pro

Video Tutorial: Find & Book a Pro

Reflection on the Project

I wanted to build an app that was easy and intuitive to use, and looking back on the process of building this app, I think I achieved this. I realize that the key ingredient for a successful outcome is lots of testing and research. Asking questions, and getting input from users - it's all important research and data no matter how small the utterance.

However, there is still room for improvement, and I'm sure there will be more iterations of this app in the future, but this will also have a strong focus on the end user's needs. In the future, I will be adding more clickable options, and polishing up some of the existing pages to bring them closer to the real-life app.

Thank you for reading my case study!

Feel free to contact me at or on LinkedIn.