Dr Simone Gumtau
I am a visual communication designer specialising in interactive media design, an academic lecturer and researcher. I started my career as a screen and web designer in the German media capital of Hamburg during the dot com boom. I left a position at the online department of prestigious news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ to start my studies in the UK. While studying for a BA (Hons) in Communication Design, I carried on commercial engagements by working free-lance in various areas and for local design departments. After completing my MA specialising in Digital and Interactive Media, I started working as a Researcher on the project MEDIATE and subsequently began a PhD program researching touch-based human-computer interfaces. Several research and teaching appointments finally culminated in the current position as Senior lecturer in Digital Media Design and Visual Culture.
I am interested in interaction design and perception and the particular affordances of digital media environments.
My research has been about critically engaging with the screen and human-computer interfaces, with a particular focus on sensory interaction, perception – specifically the sense of touch (haptic/tactile interfaces) – and the notion of embodiment. For the project MEDIATE, I designed and developed tactile interfaces and complex adaptive interaction for a multi-sensory environment for children with autism. Other areas of research have been around affordances and emergence, for example relevant to the design of learning environments, but also more generally in interaction design.
I am interested in qualitative research methods such as storytelling and holistic, phenomenological approaches. Currently I am seeking to design interactive experiences that explore the themes of embodiment and emergence, drawing on complexity and systems theory by utilising creative coding. New technologies are creating new design spaces which are exciting new territories to explore – questions arise around how to design for gestural and haptic interaction, and how this interaction can grow more complex in dialogue with the interactive system and human user, allowing for novel outcomes and responses (generative systems and art).