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Hi, I'm Zia Khoshsirat.

I am a User Experience Researcher and Designer. I endeavor to have an in-depth understating of people, their habits, goals, motivations, and (dis)satisfactions.

My expertise is reverse engineering human emotions in their decision-making processes. My anthropological background assists me in analyzing how emotions appear in social life and what these emotions do in choosing and using a product.

My approach to UX Research and Design is to find the issues and use my critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills to resolve them. 
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VR, AR and Mixed Reality

effect of VR on language, memory retention, and interaction

Abstract Planet

UX Resarch and Design

Utilizing my intense anthropological training in action



Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton
3 months
Los Angeles, CA
 Experience Researcher
the effect of increased reality in a VR environment  through multisensory enhancement on remembering events


  • Expertise in virtual reality technology and development

  • Knowledge of the principles of mixed reality and its application in collaborative settings

  • Proficiency in designing and implementing research studies

  • Ability to recruit participants and manage study logistics

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Virtual headset


  • Understand the alignment of gesture, intonation, and object presentation in virtual environments

  • See whether increasing the "realness" in the game through multisensory enhancement leads to expanded pitch range and intonational contours​​

  •  If VR and Mixed Reality impact how human listeners utilize cues to organize the construction and recall of memory traces

*Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton is the lead researcher in this project. She ideated this project in 2022 and designed the research based on her  two decades experience with human-centered studies and analyzing human interactions during video game  sessions.

She leads and manages the project.

I joined the project in April 2023.


​For this research study, *we have designed an interaction in collaborative Mixed Reality (a combination of virtual reality and physical reality) which combines a participant (player one) virtually immersed as an avatar in RPE interacting with a physical spotter (player two). Here's the summary of the design:

  • Recruited pairs of real-life friends with no prior exposure to the game to participate in the study

  • A general VR orientation to ensure players knew how to move safely and operate controllers

  • Player one wore a VR headset and played as their avatar-self walking down the plank, while player two monitored safety without a headset

  • The game was untimed, and players could repeat the task as much as they wanted within a one-hour total gameplay time

  • The first pass involved normal VR gameplay, while the second pass involved MR with a fan simulating wind and walking on a physical plank

  • These modifications were commonly used by RPE gamer communities to enhance the perception of "realness" in the game

  • Conducted health condition screening checklist and obtained informed consent from participants for the research study

  • Video recorded participants' gestures and gross bodily movements during the collaborative Mixed Reality interaction

  • Audio recorded participants' conversations during the gameplay

  • Collected in-game play data from the avatar's perspective using the virtual reality headset

  • Ensured participant safety with a designated spotter and a member of the research team present during the interaction

  • Provided a safe environment with a plushly carpeted lab floor to prevent physical harm

  • Monitored participants for symptoms of headache or VR motion sickness and instructed them to take a break or stop altogether if necessary

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  • Sample size determined based on small space, limited research assistant pool, and manageable timeline of 3 months

  • 24 pairs or 48 total participants will be recruited

  • Population divided into same-gender and mixed-gender pairs and age categories: under 18 (parental consent required), 18-25 (Gen Z), 25-41 (Millennials), and over 41 (Gen X and Baby Boomers)

  • Recruitment ensureD the confidentiality of participants

  • Demographic diversity is considered during recruitment to ensure a representative sample


  • Conducting discourse, gesture, and intonational analysis as the primary research method.

  • Utilizing naturally occurring gestures and intonational contours in our analysis.

  • The possibility of statistical analysis depends on the distribution of spontaneous gestures with intonational contours in our sample.


The future of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in the medical field, education, and judicial system, among others, is promising. VR and AR can be used in medicine for simulation-based training, preoperative planning, and patient education. VR and AR can also be used to improve the accessibility of medical care, such as telemedicine and remote surgery. In education, VR and AR can enhance learning experiences, improve student engagement and motivation, and provide a more immersive and interactive learning environment.

There are potential applications of VR/AR in the judicial system in crime scene investigation, witness testimony, and courtroom presentations. VR technology can provide more immersive and realistic simulations of crime scenes and accidents, allowing investigators to gather more evidence. AR technology can be used to enhance witness testimony by providing visual aids that help jurors better understand the circumstances of a case. Additionally, VR and AR can be used to create interactive simulations of court proceedings, allowing legal professionals to practice arguments and presentations. The future of VR and AR in the judicial system is promising, with many potential applications that could improve the accuracy and fairness of legal proceedings.

In light of the promising and transformative potential applications of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), it is imperative to examine their impact on our comprehension of human language, interaction, and collaboration. Of particular interest is the question of how VR/AR/Mixed Reality influences our memory function, and how this may affect instruction delivery in high-stress situations. Further research is needed to determine the most effective approach for optimizing outcomes of using VR/AR under such circumstances (for example, doctor-patient interaction).

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Turquoise Stone
Over 20 years in Functional, Holistic,
and Anti-Aging Medicine
3 months
Los Angeles, CA
Finding the root causes of ailments and resolving chronic diseases
Optimizing users' interaction with the company by understanding their needs and formulating strategies to increase the conversion rate up to 5%
 UX Researcher, Design consultant, Project Manager


As a UX researcher, I primarily focused on identifying the root cause of the high bounce rate and overhead issues on the client's website:

Conducted a thorough usability review of the website: I examined the website design, layout, and navigation structure to identify areas that may be causing user frustration or confusion. This was done through a heuristic evaluation or expert review, where I  evaluated the website against established usability principles.

Performed user testing: I recruited participants who were representative of the website's target audience and observed their interactions with the website. I did it through remote moderated testing or unmoderated testing using tools like UserTesting or Maze. This gave me insights into areas where users are struggling or experiencing frustration.

Analyzed website analytics: I analyzed website analytics data with other stakeholders to determine where users are dropping off, which pages have the highest bounce rates, and what sources drive the most website traffic. This information helped me identify areas that need improvement.

Prioritized issues: Based on my analysis, I prioritized the problems causing the most significant impact on the website's performance, such as high bounce rates and overhead costs.

Developed design recommendations: Based on my findings, I developed design recommendations to improve the website's user experience, which included redesigning key pages, improving the navigation structure, and simplifying the content.

Implemented change: With the client's approval, I worked with their development team to implement the recommended changes within 2 months.

Conducted follow-up testing: After the changes had been implemented, I conducted follow-up testing to evaluate the impact of the changes on the website's performance. This helped me determine if additional adjustments are needed to improve the website's user experience further.

My approach was to comprehensively evaluate the website's usability, prioritize the issues causing the most significant impact, and work collaboratively with the client's team to implement design changes that improve the user experience and reduce the company's overhead costs.

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Founded by Dr. Shiva Lalezar in 2008, Health and Vitality Center, experiencing a significant revenue loss, needed to rebrand the company and revamp its website. Being one of the top Functional Medicine specialists in Los Angeles, Dr. Lalezar asked me to help her strengthen her relationship with her present patients and build trust with online inquirers.
After a heuristic evaluation of the company, its patients, and online visitors' habits, goals, and motivations, I envisioned strategies to approach the issues and created plans or methods to achieve our main goal.
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Building on my anthropological expertise in human emotions, ethnography, quantitative data, and Dr. Lalezar's invaluable longitudinal experience, I tried to comprehend users'/patients' behavior in making certain decisions during their interactions with the first point of contact and understand what they do.

However, we needed to better understand Health & Vitality's audience and current patients. I used the term "the silent majority," referring to the roughly 75% of new users whose interaction does not go beyond a few seconds of browsing the website. Less than 5% of them make a call, and less than 1% inquire about an appointment.

Is there a correlation between these quantitative data, the company's brand identity, website design, and marketing strategies directly impacting users? 


Our thorough UX research helped to observe a constellation of weaknesses. Considering the fieldsite multiple (physical and virtual), I started by observing staff-patient interactions and conducting unstructured interviews to strategize our plan. 
Moving to the virtual fieldsite, I ran 17 Usability Testings on the (old) website to understand what users need and their perceptions. 

We initiated the rebranding process and structured the website based on the analysis of the collected qualitative and quantitative while having customers' demographics (35-55 professionals) always in mind. 

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Rethinking the Dialogue with People

& Expected Results

We realized a few issues with how the center communicates its specialties, goals, and approaches with people. For example, most people do not know what functional medicine and holistic approach can do for them or how Health and Vitality Center differs from regular vitamin therapy places and spas.

Based on users' demographic stats, we decided to focus on regular blog posts to educate people alongside the newsletter that the company has been doing sporadically. Moreover, all the social media platforms (prioritizing Instagram and Facebook) will support publicizing the content.

By invigorating the content creation (blog articles, social media posts, educational posts, recent medical studies, and personal posts by Dr. Lalezar), and revitalizing the dialogue with people, we will expect a significant transformation in  the company: 

triple in 2 years
25-35% in 1 year
up to 30% in 1 year
up to 5% in 2 years
1000% in 2 years
up to 300% in 1 year
up to 35%
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