Conducting a UX Audit: The 3 Things I do Every Time

A UX audit is likely one of my favourite tasks as a UX/UI designer. It allows me in a few days to take a deep dive into an existing platform or app, look for opportunities for improvement and turn them into stunning new designs.

Diego Menchaca
February 9, 2023
 min read


  • A UX audit is conducted to identify problems in a product's user experience and suggest practical ways to resolve them.
  • Making a good first impression is crucial for new users. Studies show that 40-60% never return after signing up.
  • To easily document your product's first impressions, you can request individuals to share a Loom video of their initial reaction and point out anything that caught their attention.
  • The "aha!" moment refers to a specific moment in a user's journey where they realize that the product has improved their skills or made their life easier.
  • Performing a UX audit can help us identify ways to shorten the time and number of clicks it takes for users to reach the "aha moment."


I frequently partner with startups that already have a live product and a user base. They come to me seeking design aid to elevate their platform's aesthetics and user experience, increase user retention, or design new functionalities.

If my client has an existing product or landing page, it's an excellent opportunity to conduct a UX/UI audit of what has already been designed and developed.

What is a UX audit?

User Experience (UX) audit reviews a product's current user experience to find "low-hanging fruits," or small rough edges that, if polished, can give the product a considerable boost.

Examples of things I usually find in a UX audit are:

  • User onboarding: Too many clicks to reach the aha moment.
  • Navigation: The product's complicated navigation can make it difficult for users to learn how to use it.
  • Aesthetics: When there is not enough white space, icons are blurry, and the text hierarchy is unclear.
  • Accessibility: Some common problems include insufficient color contrast, and fonts aren't responsive.

A UX audit is a quick process that takes between 2 to 4 days and has the opportunity of identifying easy fixes that can considerably improve a product's user experience and look and feel.

Three things I do with every UX audit

1. Record my first impressions.

The first impression of a product can be a goldmine of insights. So I record that first experience with Loom and narrate everything that catches my attention. Loom is a screen recording app that makes it very easy to record your screen and share it with others.

In my first impression encounter, I wander through the platform, letting it guide me where it wants to take me. I speak into my microphone interesting details I find along the way: things that I find excellent and those that are confusing or frustrating.

Once I have explored the product, I go back to the Loom recording and create comments on Loom to label critical things I found that the founder or dev team can fix in the product.

I make my First impressions video available to the founders or internal team, and from there, we often decide which things to start redesigning after the audit.

2. Focus on the product's "aha!" moment.

One of the most challenging things for startups is getting users to return a second time. According to a study done by Intercom, 40-60% of first-time users sign up and never return.

40-60% of first-time users sign up and never come back.

The main reason why users never come back is because they never reached the "aha!" moment.

The "aha!" moment, also called user success, is a discrete moment where the user feels that the product has helped them upgrade their life or level up.

The reason why many users never reach the "aha!" moment can be a combination of factors, including:

  • The product was too confusing.
  • The product loaded too slowly.
  • Another shiny web app catches the user's attention; they minimize or close the tabs and say goodbye once and for all.

In this part of my UX audit, I do two things:

  1. Define with the founders or internal team the "aha!" moment in their product.
  2. I look for ways to minimize the steps new users should take to reach that moment.

Examples of "aha!" moment

Here are some examples of the "aha!" moment:

  • Loom: Sharing your first screen recording.
  • Calendly: Getting your first calendar booking.
  • Canva: Create your first design and download it.

One of my favorite techniques to get the crux of the "aha!" moment is to ask existing paying customers the following question: At what moment did you feel that our product gave you what you were looking for?

If you are looking for a great article on how to find the "aha!" moment and boost retention rates, here is a fantastic blog post.

Reducing time to value

The number of seconds it takes a first-time user to sign up and reach the "aha!" moment is called time to value. The shorter that time, the higher our chance of retaining that user in the long run. 

For this reason, once the "aha!" moment is defined, I focus my design work on reducing the steps users must take to reach that point.

I look for steps in the current onboarding flow that are must-haves and those that can be removed or delayed. I also focus on cases where current first-time users may be giving up on the platform and designing simple rail guards to prevent the user from falling off. This can be, for example, tooltips that appear if the user still needs to do a required action.

3. Check for accessibility issues.

A topic that is often overlooked in early-stage products is accessibility.

One of the most common issues I see in existing products with an accessibility implication is text with low contrast. Low color contrast can occur when we choose greys that are too light or by combining foreground and background colors that are too light. Luckily these things are easy to fix.

My tool for this is to use Chrome's Inspector mode and look for colors that don't meet WCAG 2.0 standards.

Another common issue I encounter is text sizes that are set in pixels and thus not responsive. 

For a website or platform to be accessible, font sizes and spacing must be set in a responsive unit, not fixed pixels. Although there are different ways that designers can achieve this, my unit of choice is to use REMs and use 16px as a base font which is the default font size on web browsers.


As a UX/UI designer, conducting a UX audit is one of my favorite tasks. In just a few days, I can take a deep dive into an existing platform or app, identify a few areas of improvement and transform them into a delightful experience for users.

I can gain valuable insights and imagine what first-time users may feel by recording my first impressions with a Loom video. That first experience leads me to understand the platform's "aha!" moment, or user success, and how the current onboarding experience can be simplified so first-time users reach that point as easily and quickly as possible. Lastly, I look for common accessibility issues such as low color contrasts and non-responsive font sizes.

The success of a product is heavily influenced by the user's initial experience. Hiring an external designer to conduct a UX audit, who has no prior knowledge or experience with the product, can provide valuable insights that can help explain why new users are signing up but not returning.

Looking for a UX/UI designer to do a UX audit of your current platform or app? I'm available 👋

Diego Menchaca
Product Designer
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