Manorama Yearbook: Re-imagining digital for India’s gold standard knowledge bank

The Manorama Yearbook is an unparalleled treasure trove of information, widely referred by one who are preparing for UPSC exams and other keen readers. Think Design collaborated with Manorama to create a comprehensive digital platform which provides a one-stop solution to all aspirants. Giving a more holistic experience to the consumers, a coming-of-age product was envisioned, to transfer knowledge in a much more interactive and engaging way, with a greater ease of access.




Responsive web, Mobile application


User Research, UI UX Design

The Challenge

Manorama has a legacy of over 5 decades, and is considered as an ideal book for enhancing one’s general knowledge, typically covering curated information on people, places, events and other notable developments. Manorama planned to convert the physical form of Yearbook to an intuitive digital form to make the information dynamic in its nature in terms of access, consumption, experience and delivery. The challenge was to design the platform in consideration of retaining the 53-year-old legacy of Manorama Yearbook of being a trusted content provider.

In order to aid its customers with a comprehensive knowledge compendium the platform needed to be highly customized to ensure its acceptance and ease of use. Aspirants who require their time to be most well optimized, require not only a clutter-free complete package, catering to genres of information, but also high reliability of information at effectiveat effective costs. With a shift of consumers to count on digital knowledge sources, Manorama needed a metamorphosis to a highly interactive interface, which could be a one stop resource center meeting the different needs of its customers. While also translating its own success to that of its aspiring consumer base.


Our Methodology

At Think Design insight is a precursor to strategy which informs design. And we commence by generating a roadmap to gain insights in understanding constraints involved in developing any desired product. To formulate a common vision, strategies and design directions, we kicked off with workshops with Manorama, to have better clarity of the product and target audience.

Understanding the company background

The legacy of Manorama yearbook and its distinctiveness from similar print media platforms was understood, supplemented with competition and parallel product analysis

Knowing the end-users

By capturing user segmentation the two main personas were identified - UPSC Aspirants and Quizzers. To have a holistic idea about their preparation requirements, pain points, challenges, and to capture their lifestyle, demographic study, tracing scenarios, a day in life were used as research methodologies.

Studying user lifestyle

To understand the lifestyle of UPSC aspirants more closely, Think Design team conducted primary research and spent a day with an UPSC aspirants preparing to appear in forthcoming examinations. By using the Questionnaire and Photo Elicitation method many useful insights were drawn.

Navigating the customer journey

Think Design and Manorama teams, together conducted a brainstorming session where the customer journey was traced from discovery to purchase phase. This activity helped in identifying key flows and touchpoints that users will come across.

Building on the information architecture

Think Design team focused on identifying distinctive ways of organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal was to help users find information and complete tasks.

Finally to fulfill the objective of creating a cohesive experience and building a common design language, faster and easily understood by the users we opted for a unified design system.

Key Insights

To create the “stickiness” factor that helps retain existing customers and develop strategies to acquire new customers, we informed our product design from insights gathered through user research. These became a cornerstone to deliver content in evolving ways.

1. Practice Tools needed

Aspirants were found to prefer online platforms if a section is provided to practice their queries, sums, etc. through a digital whiteboard or notepad.

2. A community or a forum to share

Asking for help from their a needed requirement. Mock test series and quizzes can be a boost to this platform as aspirants are using online platforms to gather information and write tests.

3. Broad range of study materials to gather

Providing a 360 degree perspective about each and every topic with useful insights considering the factors involved, its impacts and changes can make a platform one-stop solution for aspirants. Since maps are again advantageous to recollect the context hence, providing different maps (Political, geographical, etc.) which are interactive and can be saved and linked together with notes could be a value add.

4. Categorizing and making information easily accessible

Presenting content in bullet points makes content more legible and was found useful for aspirants for easy retention. Providing space or line drawings, timelines, etc. with content or adding a feature of visual mind mapping which helps user memorizing concepts easily and quickly will be a user experience enhancer.

5. Providing ways to refer back

Highlighting important content for bookmarking helps users save the content to their notes. Providing a sense of personalization a feature like this could be a value add to the platform.



Working to add value and create a premier user experience, our team came together to create a stable, scalable and sustainable digital platform for the delivery and long-term management of Manorama’s digital content. Drawing from insights and design strategy, features that used the best practices and technologies were brought in to define a new age platform.

1. Learn easily

The platform incorporated a plethora of features for effective learning. Cheat Sheets for easy tips and tricks, to be quick in resolving questions and memorizing fast. Visual Mind maps to make content easier to understand and improve memory and retain concentration. To-DoTo Do List for creating personalized checklist and informative infographics were used to add consumers visual interest and make content stimulating.

2. Refer Back and retain

Flash Cards were added as a feature to save important sentences, words, phrases, numbers, facts and access them for quick reference or revisions. Features like Reminders, Notifications and Timetable planners can keep user intact with notifications, schedule time, remember important exam dates through alerts. Highlighter and Segregators help user to bookmark the content and segregate under the tags assigned and makes future references easy.

3. Collaborate with communities

Active discussion forums and get mentored webinars is a forward tool to reach out to the larger community to learn. Topper’s Bank is a feature for users to refer to previous year UPSC toppers notes and references curated by them during their preparation days. Providing a provision of user ratings adds an exciting value to the product and generates trust value in users' mind.

4. Evaluate and Progress

Daily Video Quizzes added an interest value to the platform giving a sense of recreation at the same time helping users test their general knowledge. Performance Tracker provides usersuser a detailed report of their performance using which they can work on their loopholes and keep a track ofon their performance and national standing.



UX and Strategy workshop, User Research, Competition Analysis, Content Structure Audit, Prototyping, Wireframes, Visual System, Front End Development, Application Development.


Current status

Manorama Yearbook’s online avatar was launched in December 2018 with road map to launch mobile apps in 2019.


CII Design Excellence Award 2019 CII Design Excellence Award 2019
India’s Best Design Project Award 2019 India’s Best Design Project Award 2019
User Testing/ Validation
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User Testing/ Validation

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