Kristina Höök

Kristina Höök is Professor in Human-Machine Interaction at Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University/KTH since 2003. She also upholds a part-time employment at SICS where she is the manager of the Interaction Laboratory. She became Associate Professor (docent) in 2002, PhD in1996, Ph Licentiate in 1991, and MSc in 1987.

Kristina Höök defended her thesis on how to create an adaptive help system to help users navigate and find the most relevant information in a large on-line hypermedia manual in 1996. Her thesis works was awarded the Cor Baayen Fellowship by ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics) in 1997.

After finishing her thesis, she then continued with the problem of information overflow, but now directed at the problem of navigation through information space. She came up with the idea of social navigation, enabling users to find their way through the space based on what other users have done or are doing in that space. In exploring the idea of social navigation, she started and then led a group named Social Computing in the HUMLE-lab, in which several systems were built to illustrate and test the idea of social navigation – both for the web but also a system to be used in mobile settings.
Kristina Höök has also actively been researching the field of Affective Interaction in several different projects starting 1999, mainly through user studies of systems to aid with the design cycle. The systems studies are both tangible interaction through plush toys, mobile systems using affective gestures, and others.

Kristina Höök has published more than 50 scientific papers in journals such as ToCHI, IJHCS, Interactions, AI Communications, and at prestigious conferences such as CHI, DUX, DIS, IUI, and others. She has co-edited two books on Social Navigation and written a range of book chapters and popular science descriptions. She has been an invited keynote speaker at NordCHI’04, Mensch & Computer 2003, and an invited speaker at an invited session at CHI’04. She has won a top-paper award at WebNet’99, her laboratory won the SITI conference “attendants’ favourite award” in 2003 and her project “Mobile Life” won the prize in 2004. In 2005 she was granted an INGVAR II award. The INGVAR grant is handed out for the advancement of young, future research leaders in Sweden by the Strategic Research Foundation. Recently, Kristina Höök, Lars Erik Holmquist, Oskar Juhlin and Annika Waern, were granted a VINNex center named "Mobile Life" with funding for 10 years.

Kristina Höök serves in

  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), division XII
  • The advisory group of Forskning & Framsteg – a Swedish popular science magazine
  • The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) scientific advisory group
  • The management team of SICS (2000 – )

Kristina Höök previously served in

  • The research management of SITI (Swedish IT institute) (1999 – 2003)
  • The board of RIFO (the Association of Members of the Swedish Parliament and Researchers) (2004 - 2006)
  • The ACM SIGCHI Extended Executive Council (2000 – 2002)
  • The board of Center for information technology and cognitive science organized by SU (1995 – 1999)

Throughout my research career I have worked with a range of design concepts that I believe may come in useful in some interaction design situations - not all - but some. Some of these I would even claim to be what we could name middle-range theories.

The first, and perhaps most known, concept I worked with, we named social navigation. Bascially, social navigation makes other's social trails through information spaces visible. This helps users find their way in large information spaces as we typically rely on the judgement of others. After working with the concept of social navigation for a while, some of the colleagues I was working with at the time, figured that we could move this concept out into mobile contexts. Thus, we built a range of social mobile services . This in turn, made us discover the problematic nature of seamlessness, a concept often promoted by the telecom-industry. Instead of seamlessness, we have therefore been working with seamfulness. A seamful design is one where the seams in the network coverage, positioning system, or between different media in a space are not hidden but instead used as a resource in the design, shown to the users so that they can make sense of them, appropriate them and have fun with them.

After working with social navigation for many years, I became really interested in affective computing after listening to Rosalind Picard in 1998. But my take on affective computing is somewhat different from Roz' direction of research. Together with the affective presence group I have been exploring an alternative view on how affect can be integrated into interaction with end users. Our take is that of affective interaction. In particular, with my research group we have been exploring the idea of involving users both physically and cognitively in what we name an affective loop.

All these "interaction concepts" that I have been working with throughout my research career all belong to the same theoretical foundation: that of embodied interaction (as discussed by Paul Dourish). But instead of being grand theories of life, universe and everything, our aim is to make these concepts carry the grand theory into usable design concepts that anyone can pick up and make use of in their design practice.

Family and colleagues

Family and pictures

I am married to Sverker Janson and we have two kids, Adam and Axel. Some family pictures. My only leisure time activity is horseback riding on icelandic horses.

Here are also some more pictures of me that you may use if you want to.


My current PhD-students are:

  • PhLic Jarmo Laaksolahti
  • PhLic Petra Sundström
  • MSc Anders Frank
  • DesLic Anna Ståhl

I used to supervise:

  • PhD Martin Svensson
  • PhD Åsa Rudström

And when the following people finished their theses I was in the vicinity:

  • PhD Ylva Fernaeus
  • PhD Markus Bylund
  • PhD Fredrik Espinoza
  • PhD Rickard Cöster
  • PhLic Thomas Olsson
  • PhD Per Persson
  • PhD Marie Sjölinder
  • PhLic Kent Saxin-Hammarström
Talks & Workshops

In general, I really enjoy giving talks though sometimes I do a bit too many of them. I have put some of my slides here so that you can get a flavour for what my talks are about. But since I prefer to have mostly pictures, I am not so sure that you will be able to make any sense of them.

I also give an undergraduate course in Affective Interaction at the university.

In October 2006, I presented my paper named "Open Familiar Surfaces" describing some of the underlying ideas and principles for my work during at the NordiCHI conference in Oslo:

Open Familiar Surfaces (ppt).
In June 2006, I presented some of the work on Mobile Services that I and my collegues have done to a large group of administrators attending a conference at Stockholm University:
Mobilt & Ubikom (in Swedish)

In April 2006, I presented our joint work on designing an Affective Diary a workshop Microsoft organised in Cambridge:

A user-centred design of an Affective Diary
In 2006 I gave a talk on Mobile Services and some of our results from the Mobile Life project:
Mobile Life: People-focused innovations in mobile services.

In 2005 I gave a talk on methods for designing mobile services from a user-centred perspective:

Methods to support innovation and evaluation of mobile services for people .
In 2005 at the Critical Computingconference I presented the work by Oulasvirta, Tamminen and myself:
Comparing Two Approaches to Context: Realism and Constructivism .

In 2002 I gave my "docent"-lecture: Social Computing - Usage as design
In 2002 I gave a talk that was transcibed by someone, all in Swedish: Social och affektiv informatik: två inslag i framtidens IT-samhälle?

In 2000 I gave a talk in Swedish on the future of IT:

IT-society in the future? From tools to soap operas.


CHI 2007 workshop on Supple Interfaces will be presented at CHI 2007 in San Jose. Katherine Isbister and I are organising the workshop.

CHI 2005 Workshop on Evaluating Affective Interfaces: innovative approaches was a workshop that I organised together with Katherine Isbister. Based on this workshop we organised a special issue of IJHCS in 2007 with 10 papers.

Workshop on Usability of Affective Interfaces was organised within the HUMAINE project by myself, Jarmo Laaksolahti and Katherine Isbister.
Together with Alan Wexelblat and Alan Munro, I organised a Workshop on "Social Navigation: a design approach?" during CHI'2000 in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Elisabeth Andre, Angelica de Antonio and I organised a Workshop on on Behaviour Planning for Life-like Characters and Avatars in March 1999 during the i3 Spring Days in Sitges, Spain.
I organised a Workshop on on Navigation in March 1998 together with David Benyon and Alan Munro.

I organised a Workshop on Agents, VR and Disabled Users, 23rd of January, 1997 together with Kristian Simsarian
A few times, I have a tutorial on how to design and evaluate intelligent user interfaces. The ZIPPED tutorial notes can be found here.

In media