Guobin Xia

Dr, FRSA, Mr

  • TD1 3HF

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Willing to speak to media


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr. Guobin Xia currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Digital Design and Innovation at Heriot-Watt University. In this role, he is responsible for spearheading the development of the Digital Design discipline area and contributing to the university's teaching and research agendas, philosophy, and strategies.

Dr. Xia obtained his PhD in Immersive Experience Design from the University of Leeds in 2022. Prior to that, he completed his studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2018. His research interests encompass a range of areas, including Colour design, Immersive and transformative experience design, Data-driven design/storytelling, Digital Enterprise, and Neuro design. His research is highly regarded in the field of Digital Design due to its strong interdisciplinary nature. Throughout his career, Dr. Xia has produced numerous peer-reviewed publications in high-impact SCI and SSCI-listed journals. He has also cultivated partnerships with various industrial collaborators, leveraging his expertise to apply design solutions in diverse sectors such as healthcare, education, business, fashion, and engineering. His most recent research, funded by the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) and in collaboration with the NHS as a PhD studentship, addresses strategic knowledge gaps in the field of immersive experience design, specifically focusing on mental health and well-being.

Dr. Xia actively contributes to the academic community in several capacities. He serves as a Review Editor for Frontiers in Imaging (Imaging Application) and is a member of esteemed organizations including The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College and InterAct Peer Review College (Made Smarter Innovation funded, led by the Economic and Social Research Council). Additionally, he regularly conducts peer reviews for renowned publishers including Sage (Lighting Research and Technology), Routledge (Taylor & Francis) (The Design Journal; International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction), MDPI (Big Data and Cognitive Computing), Wiley (Color Research and Application), and Springer (SN Computer Science).

Furthermore, Dr. Xia holds fellowships and memberships with esteemed societies such as the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), Higher Education Academy (HEA), Design Research Society (DRS), and the Study Group of Environment Colour Design of the Association Internationale de la Couleur (AIC).

Research interests

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to motivated PGR (MoR, MPhil, PhD) students, as well as Visiting Academic/Research Fellows, who are interested in the following areas of research. Please kindly send me an email ( should you find my research interesting. 

Research interests

Colour Design: Exploring and expanding the design possibilities of colour and light in various domains, including product design, interior design, cognition, and mental health and wellbeing. Key areas of investigation include colour emotion, colour preference, colour harmony, colour meaning, and colour forecasting.

Immersive and Transformative Experience Design (VR/AR/MR): This research area delves into the realms of avatar design, wellbeing applications, aversion therapy, wearable healthcare technology, automobile design, the metaverse, and digital education. I am particularly interested in leveraging virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies to create immersive and transformative experiences.

Data-Driven Design: This research approach entails incorporating data about people's behavior and attitudes into the design process, enabling informed decision-making. Key keywords associated with this area of study include design for sustainability, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. I am particularly interested in utilizing data-driven methodologies to enhance design outcomes.

Data-Driven Storytelling: This research area involves the development of innovative and structured approaches for effectively communicating data insights through visual elements such as data visualizations, infographics, and other means of visual storytelling. I aim to explore how storytelling techniques can enhance the understanding and impact of data-driven narratives.

Human-Centered Design of Automated Vehicles: In this research domain, my focus lies in human-centric approaches to the design of automated vehicles. Specific areas of interest include human vision in vehicle display design, the role of colour and texture in enhancing user experiences, human-centric lighting design, and effective machine-human interaction in the context of automated vehicles.

Research Collaborators / Sponsors


Roles & Responsibilities

Course Leader

E11DG - Digital Design Innovation Lab

E11DN - Digital Enterprise Lab

E11UX - User Experience Design

E19ET - Enterprise and Innovation for Design 

E11FI - Final Project (from Sept 2021 to Aug 2022)

E11CP - Creative Programming (from Sept 2021 to Sept 2022)


BA (Honours)/MA/MSc/PhD 

External appoinment

Review Editor for Frontiers in Imaging

Member of EPSRC Peer Review College

Member of InterAct Commissioned Peer Review College




Research Group Contact Details

Research Projects Supervision

PhD Projects

A. Claire, PhD, 2024.01 (incoming) - Immersive AR experience design to improve mental health and depression

(Primary Supervisor)

R. Bai, PhD, 2023.09 - current - Healthy lighting in Virtual Reality 

(Primary Supervisor)

C. Lin, PhD, 2023.05 - current - Investigating the design potential of immersive XR experience for cultural heritage exploration

(Primary Supervisor)

Z. Xu, PhD, 2022.05 - current - Holographic experience design to improve human perception

(Second Supervisor)

Visiting Academic Scholar(s)

Y. Wang, Associate Professor of Print Art, School of Fine Arts, Harbin Normal University, China. 

Research Project: Empowering fashion professionals' creative ideation through virtual collaboration for wood board painting integration (2023.03 -2024.03)

H. Yu, Associate Professor and Head of Department, School of Fine Arts, Harbin Normal University, China; Collaborate with Dr P. Henry from University of Leeds 

Research Project: Digital fashion and lacquer painting (2023.08 -2024.08).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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