Cardiff School of Art & Design>Staff>Professor Steve Gill

Professor Steve Gill PhD BA (hons) FHEA

Screen-shot-2013-12-20-at-13.36.51-100x100.pngCardiff Met Deputy Director of Research & Graduate Studies
CSAD Associate Dean (Research)
PhD BA (hons) FHEA
t: 029 2041 6732

Specialist Subject Areas

Product Design, Human Centred Design, Information Ergonomics, Computer Embedded Products, Medical Product Design, Physicality in Design


PhD (2009)
BA (Hons) Design for Industry (1993)
BTEC National Diploma in Art & Design (1989)


Steve is a product designer with 23 years of professional experience in industry and academia. He has designed or product managed around 50 products to market and has published around 70 peer reviewed outputs. He is currently co-writing a book with Prof. Alan Dix of Birmingham University to be published in 2017 by Oxford University Press called Touch IT. The book came out of the DEPtH: Designing for Physicality project, a research council funded collaboration with University of Lancaster. Steve is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Design Research Society.

Steve heads Cardiff Met’s User Centred Design Research (UCD-R) group, the roots of which lie in CSAD’s Programme for Advanced Interactive Prototype Research (PAIPR). PAIPR was established by Steve and Gareth Loudon in 2001 to investigate methods for the rapid design and development of computer embedded products such as mobile phones and medical devices. Meanwhile, the National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR) had been examining the effective implementation of UCD processes within commercial practice.

UCD-R brings together these two strands in a cross-unit collaboration. While computer embedded devices remain a major interest, UCD-R has further interests connected to the importance of the prototype as a focus around which ethnographical research methods can be deployed in design praxis, for example in the design development process for prosthetic limbs. The group places a great deal of emphasis on the applied, and works on the development of UCD tools and process. They have worked closely with blue chip companies such as Samsung and Kenwood, and many of the techniques developed through the group’s research are deployed directly in commercial design projects through PDR’s commercial UCD offering.

Current research

Steve is an applied researcher. As well as heading UCD-R (see above), he works closely with Prof. Judith Hall from Cardiff University Medical School and Dr. Clara Watkins on the development of low cost life-saving medical products. Steve is a founder member and Operational Chair of the Wales Institute of Research in Art & Design (WIRAD). Over the years his research interests have become diverse, leading him to supervise PhDs in areas as diverse as Re-configurable tooling, Thermography, Design, Experiential Vision and Ceramics. His core interests lie in human-centred design, life critical product design, physicality, rapid prototyping of computer embedded products and interaction design. A common theme in them all is a desire to place people at the heart of research aimed at creating ‘real world’ impact.

Principal Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

Click here to view Professor Gill’s papers and publications on Cardiff Metropolitan University’s DSpace repository.

Click here to go to the UCD-R site for a full list of Professor Gill’s publications.

Selected Journal Articles, Book Chapters & Patents (recent and ‘in press’)
• IN PRESS: Dix, A. and Gill, S. with Ramduny-Ellis, D. and Hare, J. ‘TouchIT: exploring the physicality of the world and the design of digital products’, to be published by Oxford University Press, 2017
• Gill, S., ‘CONCEPTS’, ‘INTERNET’, ‘INTERACTION DESIGN’ and ‘INTERFACE DESIGN’ in Edwards, C. ‘The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design’, Bloomsbury, London
• Hare, J., Gill, S., Loudon, G. and Lewis, A. “Active and passive physicality: making the most of low-fidelity physical interactive prototypes” in the International Journal of Design Research, Inderscience Publishing Ltd.
• Taylor, T., Counsell, J. & Gill, S. (2014). Combining thermography and computer simulation to identify and assess insulation defects in the construction of building façades. Energy and Buildings, 76, pp.130–142.
• Woolley, A., Loudon, G. and Gill, S. (2013) ‘Getting into Context Early: A comparative study of laboratory and in-context user testing of low fidelity information appliance prototypes’ published in Design Journal Issue 16.4, December 2013
• Gill, S. and Dix, A. (2012) ‘The Role of Physicality in the Design Process’ chapter in ‘Prototype! physical, virtual, hybrid, smart – tackling new challenges in design and engineering’ by Adenauer, J. and Petruschat, J. (Eds), Form+ Zweck
• Gill, S. (2012) Patent GB0811978.6 IE System patent arising from research work of PAIPR group
• Gill, S. ‘Closing the Loop; Bringing Tangible Benefits from Cutting Edge Research to Undergraduate Learning and Teaching’ (book chapter) to be published in ‘The Research Teaching Nexus’ published by the Higher Education Academy, S. Haslett, editor
• Dix, A., Gill, S., Ramduny-Ellis, D., and Hare, J. ‘Design and Physicality – Towards an Understanding of Physicality in Design and Use’ Chapter in “Designing for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Methods and Findings” published by Gower
• Ramduny-Ellis, D., Hare, J., Dix, A., Evans, M. and Gill, S. ‘Physicality in Design: An Exploration’ in the Design Journal 13(1) pp. 48-76

Selected Conference Papers / Presentations (recent)
• Watkins C. A., Loudon, G. H., Hall J. E., Gill, S. and Hall, J.E. ‘The Challenges of taking a User-Centric Approach within developing countries: A case study of designing medical solutions for Zambia’ in the proceedings of the 11th European Academy of Design Conference, Paris Desartes University, Boulogne Billancourt, France, April 22-24 2015
• Watkins, C.A., Loudon, G.H., Gill, S., and Hall, J.E. ‘Can design thinking be used to improve healthcare in Lusaka Province, Zambia?’, International Design Conference, Dubrovnik – Croatia, May 19 – 22.
• Hare, J., Gill, S., Loudon, G. and Lewis, A. (2013) The Effect of Physicality on Low Fidelity Interactive Prototyping for Design Practice in Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013 the 14th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 2-6, 2013, Proceedings, Part I, pp. 495-510 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-40483-2_36
• Ramduny-Ellis, D., Dix, A. and Gill, S. (Eds) (2012) Proceedings and Preface to the 4th International Workshop on Physicality, 11th September 2012, Birmingham University, UK.
• Mihoc A., Walters A.T., Eggbeer D & Gill S., (2012), ‘Barriers to User-Centred Design in the Development of Bespoke Medical Devices: A Manufacturers’ View‘ in the proceeds of the 13th Conference on Rapid Design, Prototyping & Manufacturing, Lancaster, UK, 22 June 2012
• Culverhouse, I. and Gill, S. (2012) ‘Better by Design: Safer Medical Devices Better and Faster (new uses of rough and ready, tried and tested techniques)’ industry case study presented at NordiCHI 2012, October 14th-17th, IT University of Copenhagen
• Zampelis, D., Loudon, G., Gill, S and Walker, D. ‘Augmented Reality centered Rapid prototyping’ in the proceedings of Physicality 2012, the 4th International Workshop on Physicality, co-located with British HCI 2012 conference, 11 September 2012, University of Birmingham, UK
• Eardley, R., Gill, S. and Thompson, S. ‘Investigating the biomechanical hand and its role in designing interactions’ in the proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2012 Doctoral Consortium, Newcastle, UK, June 11-15, 2012
• Woolley, A., Loudon, G. and Gill, S. Contextal Testing in the Moblie Phone Design Process; A Case Study published in the proceedings of the 11th International Design Conference – Design 2010, May 17-20, Dubrovnik – Cavtat – Croatia

Other Publications
• Griffiths, R and Gill, S., (2010, ‘Top Skills’ Education Supplement) ‘Design 2010: Your Future’
• Gill, S. (2003 March/April edition),’ Industrial Design and the User Interface’ in New Design Magazine
• Gill, S. (2003 October edition), ‘Industrial Choosing a Design Degree’ in Designing Magazine


UWIC Teaching Fellow (2008 – 2010)

Selected Enterprise and Grant Awards

KITE2 programme share (Welsh Government, £176K, 2016 (full grant held by David Lloyd))
KESS2 funding with Puffin Produce (European Convergence Fund, £74K, 2016)
Feasibility Grant (RECODE-Network via ESRC and EPSRC, £35K, 2016)
• Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Window Cleaning Warehouse (Innovate UK, £130K)
• MEET Lab Knowledge Transfer Centre pilot project with PDR and Cardiff University (A4B, £148K)
• Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Window Cleaning Warehouse (WG, £48K)
• Capacity Building Block Grant (AHRC, £103.8K, 2011)
• IP Award with Prof R. Pepperell (A4B, £25K, 2011)
• KESS PhD Scholarship with Prof R. Pepperell (WAG, £54.6K, 2010)
• KESS Access to Masters Scholarship with Prof R. Pepperell (WAG, £12.9K, 2010)
• Prince of Wales Innovation Scholarship (Wales Global Academy, £85K, 2010)
• DEPtH: Designing for Physicality (AHRC/EPSRC Grant, £335K, 2006 – 2009)
• Rapid Interface Development System (Knowledge Exploitation Fund, £10K, 2004)
• Two Patent Applications (Knowledge Exploitation Fund, £3K, 2005-2006)
• Cradle to Cradle Networking grant (Knowledge Exploitation Fund, £48K, 2007)
• Approximately £70K+ for various enterprise projects
• Major grant short-listings: RAPID, (EPSRC WINES call + Large Grant Application short listings, £1m, 2006); GILD (£900K, EPSRC responsive mode, 2010); ToUCH (£1.2 million, EPSRC responsive mode, 2011)

Rachel Eardley – Physicality’s influence on users
Beth Gordon – Low tech augmented reality for contextual simulation testing
Abbieyueyue Lawrence – Thought for Food: A research-led approach to improved Welsh food industry competitiveness
Ariana Mihoc – Bespoke Medical Devices

Dr. Claire Andrews – Lessons for design from the blind and partially sighted
Dr. Joe Baldwin – Product applications for Vision Space technology
Dr. Ian Culverhouse – Ultra fast tangible computer embedded product prototypes
Dr. Jo Hare – Exploring physicality and fidelity
Dr. Tavs Jorgenson (University College, Falmouth) – Reconfigurable tooling
Dr. Tim Taylor – The potential uses of thermography in in-construction testing
Dr. Clara Watkins – Medical products for the developing world
Dr. Alex Woolley – Contextual issues in information appliance development
Dr. Sarah Younan – 3D Scanning & Printing’ effect on audience perception of ceramic museum artefacts
Dr. Dimitrios Zampelis – Prototyping for future interaction paradigms