• User Experience Design & My Major Project

    Published January 11, 2024Latifa Siddiqah Latif

    Free vector image source: Freepik


    User experience encapsulates the entirety of the user’s interactions, perceptions, and emotions while engaging with a product, service, or system. It’s a field that merges elements of design, psychology, and technology to craft an interface that not only meets functional objectives but also prioritizes user satisfaction and ease of use. A successful user experience is marked by the synthesis of functionality, usability, and emotional resonance, ultimately fostering user loyalty and positive perceptions of the product or service.

    This article shares my plan on how I will integrate UX research methods and frameworks such as the Double Diamond model, user personas, journey mapping and usability testing, which will guide my design decisions in my major project development; Mehndi by Tifa.

    Mehndi by Tifa

    I am a passionate, self-taught, and skilled henna artist, dedicated to turning moments into masterpieces. Mehndi By Tifa is a digital canvas dedicated to the artistry and cultural richness of henna design. This canvas will invite visitors to get a visual  of the journey into the world of henna artistry, offering clients a glimpse into my unique style, bespoke services, and the enchanting allure of henna design.


    When you think of henna, what comes first to the mind? Most likely, the world-famous temporary skin art known as mehndi or henna, or even the fact that it’s a brilliant natural hair dye.

    From personal experiences to experiences shared with me, henna has grown more popular through several reasons; cultural appreciation (growing interest and appreciation for diverse cultures – expression and celebration), bridal and special events (henna is a traditional and cultural part of many bridal ceremonies in cultures such as South East Asia, Middle Eastern and Northern Africa. With destination and multicultural weddings becoming more common, the demand for bridal and party henna for special occasions have increased.

    My goal with Mehndi By Tifa is to not only connect with clients, showcase my work and expand my reach, but to grow further as a skilled henna artist, providing more than just henna application, but having an online store, workshops and events that educates individuals interested in henna whilst enjoying themselves.


    User experience (UX) research is a vital aspect in the design and development process  of products, services, and systems. It involves understanding people’s relationships to products and services. The primary goal is to enhance the overall user satisfaction and usability of a product/service by gaining insights into the users’ needs, behaviours, motivations, triggers, and barriers, and what causes them to make certain decisions. UX research is the initial stage of development for a product, service, or system, as before we start designing, it’s vital to understand who we are designing for.

    User experience (UX) design (or user centred design (USD)) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving usability, accessibility and satisfaction provided in the interaction between a user and a product, service, or system. After all the research has been done and an appropriate amount of insight has been collected from the consumers, that’s when the design stage begins. This is where the finding are implemented that address the users’ pain points and problems to solve (Jinny, 2019).

    Both elements have a different focus, different activities and different questions are addressed. Whilst UX research focuses on understanding the users and gathers data through various research methods such as interviews, UX design focuses on creating the actual design solutions based on the research findings. UX design activities include creating wireframes, prototypes, information architecture and more, but UX research involves persona development, interviews, surveys, and analyses feedback, which guides the design process. UX research aims to answer, ‘Who are the users?’, ‘What are their needs?’, but UX design aims to answer, ‘How can we best meet the users’ needs?’ and ‘How should users interact with the product to achieve their goals?’ Both UX research and design are fundamental to the user experience design process and for successful and user-centric products, services and systems, a collaboration between both is vital (Smith, 2023).

    However, I have been asking myself the questions as to when is it appropriate for me to conduct UX research and what research and design methods I should employ in my major project?

    According to the goal of the study, the nature of the project and the available resources, UX researchers use a range of research methods, and the choice of these methods are often a strategic decision aimed to gather the most relevant and actionable insights. Frequently, UX researchers combine methods to triangulate findings and gain a comprehensive understanding.


    The Double Diamond by the Design Council is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

    To guide my design process, I am applying the universally accepted depiction of the design process, the Double Diamond model. Launched by the Design Council in 2004, it became the heart of the innovation framework for their design methodology. The 2 diamonds represent a process of exploring an issue via divergent thinking and then employing convergent thinking (a focused action) (Design Council, 2022). It consists of 4 phases; a) discover, what the problem is, b) define, synthesize the information gathered and define the goals, c) develop, moving onto the second diamond, generating potential ideas, concepts and solutions to the problems, and d) deliver, now implementing, testing, and refining the chosen solution(s).

    A) Discover

    The objective here for Mehndi By Tifa will be to understand the context, gather insights and define the scope of the website. I will do this by conducting a social media analysis; analyse my existing business pages, identify successful posts, engagement metrics, and user comments to understand what resonates with the audience. Also, a competitor analysis will help define what I want my website to deliver, I will research other henna artists’ websites and online presence and identify common features, design patterns and unique selling points to guide me on what I can add to my website to be unique and different from them.

    Using the followers I have on social media, I can generate a survey or poll to gain insight what my current users think about having a website for Mehndi By Tifa, what do they expect to see, what are other henna artists doing on their websites that my followers will think I should also have on my website. I can also interview other henna artists about their websites and even those without websites; to gain insights from both perspectives. I can adopt the use of incentives to motivate users for completing the interviews/polls and be rewarded for the use of their time.

    For example, below are a few examples of what polls I can share on my social media stories to engage with the current users, as well as post them using trending tags to widen the post’s reach and have more individuals engage in the comments. This can potentially lead them to following my channels and wanting to learn more about Mehndi By Tifa, the history and culture of henna and perhaps be encouraged to give henna a go.

    B) Define

    The next step is to define clear goals for Mehndi by Tifa’s website. I will develop detailed user personas from what I had gathered in the user research during the discover stage, and from this I will consider the different segments of the target audience and their needs. These user personas will help create user-centric and effective solutions for what I want Mehndi by Tifa’s website to represent and be seen as to users. Additionally, I will also employ journey mapping to give me a visual representation of the end-to-end experience users will have with the website. I can then identify the pain-points, highlights, and emotional aspects and enable me to see the users’ journey from a holistic perspective, which is crucial for improving certain touchpoints and optimising the overall user experience.

    Certainly, my target audience is not fixed to just brides or guests at a wedding event but anyone who is wanting to learn more about diverse cultures, a different form of art. For now, I have created 2 user personas; one for an Indian bride-to-be, so the culture of henna is very familiar to her, and an African museum curator, who enjoys the history of various art forms and wants to learn more about traditions and heritage and incorporate them in his museum.

    Below are two examples of the user personas, including journey maps, that I have created for my major project development.

    C) Development

    At this stage of the Double Diamond model, I will begin to ideate and create concepts that addresses what the users want to see from a henna artist’s website. As the research is done, the design aspect begins. I will create an initial information architecture for the website; outlining the structure and hierarchy of content and consider how to organise the portfolio for the henna designs, pricings for the different henna designs based on intricacy, amount of henna desired and other elements, contact information and any e-commerce functionality. I will consider developing wireframes to visualise the layout and structure of key pages, focusing on the user journey maps from stage 2 of this process.

    D) Deliver

    Finally, I will implement and test a minimum viable product (MVP) of the website that consists of all the key elements my users are wanting to see on a henna artist’s website plus elements that are unique to Mehndi By Tifa and have not been seen on any other henna artists’ websites.

    I will adopt usability testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the website – monitor how they navigate through the pages to get to what they want to. I will gather feedback on the user interface, navigation and the overall user experience and iteratively refine the design, functionality, accessibility, and features of the website. I will ensure I address any identified usability issues or user concerns.

    At this final stage, I hope to have identified not only the scope of Mehndi By Tifa’s website but to have achieved more than what users will expect by bringing everything to my canvas; from henna design portfolio to being able to book and enquire about henna events, applications and pricings and purchasing henna cone kits and henna decorated crafts and gifts to being able to attend workshops or classes where users can learn more about the culture and history behind henna. I also aspire to enhance the website gradually as Mehndi By Tifa grows, having tutorials on the website that users can follow with a henna kit they have purchased, and having weekly competitions and challenges where users can showcase their learning and engage with others in the henna community regardless of skill level, are 2 of many ideas I aim to add to the site in the future.


    There are some aspects to consider; A) integration with social media; I should ensure that there is seamless integration between the website and the social media channels for Mehndi By Tifa. I should encourage users to share website content on social media, their experiences with henna cones they may have purchased or tutorials they may have watched. B) mobile responsiveness; I should ensure that the website is optimised for different devices, given how far technology has advanced and that users may access it from various technology platforms. And C) accessibility; I should pay attention to the accessibility considerations to ensure a positive experience for users with diverse needs.

    Nonetheless, the whole goal of this user experience research and design is to prioritize the user. In this case, whether the user wants to order a henna kit and learn along with he provided tutorials and learn the history and culture of henna, or if they want to book an appointment for the henna artist, myself, to attend any occasions such as bridal ceremonies or parties to put henna on guests. The integration of the Double Diamond model, user personas, journey mapping, interviews, and usability testing empowers the alignment of the digital platform with the diverse user needs, fosters empathy and consistently evolves to meet the ever-changing expectations of the audience.


    1. Design Council (2022). Design Council. [online] Designcouncil.org.uk. Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-resources/the-double-diamond/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2024].
    2. Jinny (2019). UX Research vs. UX Design: The Details You Can’t Overlook. [online] WANDR – Ranked #1 Product Strategy & UX Design Firm. Available at: https://wandr.studio/blog/ux-research-vs-ux-design/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2024].
    3. Smith, Z. (2023). LinkedIn. [online] Linkedin.com. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ux-design-vs-research-understanding-key-differences-zac-smith/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2024].