Cake: Holistic UX Audit


Cake (Live link)

Problem Statement

Inconsistencies across styling, messaging and hierarchy created a broken experience for users.

  • 1 Front-end Dev (me)
  • Information architecture
  • UI design

project screenshot


As an early-stage startup with a tiny team, the app had evolved from a scrappy prototype to a tool that was used by hundreds of users. We needed to move quickly to make the app look more polished and trustworthy.

As the company's first Front-end Developer, I had the exciting opportunity to suggest improvements for usability, mobile-friendliness, and overall appearance.

Global improvements

Trust and safety were a key need for Cake users, who often uploaded sensitive documents and shared highly personal details about their end-of-life wishes. It was important for the site to feel authentic and trustworthy.

I conducted a complete evaluation with the goal of making the site look polished, cohesive and reflective of the company brand. Some highlights:

Exploring new groupings for links (Click for full resolution.)

Improvements to the Discover page

Every new user started with the "Discover" tool, so we needed to get this part right. The tool was designed as a virtual deck of cards that a user can flip through and answer crucial questions about their healthcare and funeral/burial preferences. Key changes included:

Early sketching (Click for full resolution.)


Cake Discover page
Before: A screenshot of the Discover page before redesign.

Cake Discover page
After: A screenshot of the Discover page after redesign, showing improvements to navigation, card component and overall page layout.

Improvements to the Documents page

The Documents page served as the platform for users to upload vital files such as Wills or Health Care Proxy forms. A notable concern was the rigid design that assigned specific slots for document uploads (e.g., Wills could only be uploaded to the "Wills" box).

This approach assumed users (a) had all documents ready, (b) knew each document's purpose, and (c) had no need for uploading documents beyond the provided slots. I proposed the following changes:

Cake documents page
Before: A screenshot of the Documents page prior to redesign.

Cake documents page
After: A screenshot of the Documents page after redesign, showing improvements to navigation, card component and overall page layout.


I applied several trivial fixes that would go a long way in improving accessibility scores. Changes included adding tab indexes, alt tags and checking for keyboard trapping. And for fun, I ran the site through the JAWS screen reader several times and discovered many opportunities for improvement.

The site's heavy use of pastel blue raised concerns about contrast and visibility. I ran the colors through a contrast ratio test, confirmed that the ratio didn't pass, and then introduced new brand colors that passed.

contrast test result
Lea Verou's Contrast Checker,


Over the next few months, this is what we observed:

Allowing the user more flexibility in uploading files gave us important insights about what document types were important to them. For example, the page had previously focused on Wills and Health Care Proxies.

After the changes, we observed users begin uploading other documents we hadn't thought of -- like family photos and personal notes to loved ones. We learned a lot about what our users found important, which helped pave the way for several future improvements to the app.