Kristina Höök

Professor - Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Designing with the body: Somaesthetic Interaction Design

We are at a watershed moment where our relationship to technology is about to undergo a dramatic and irreversible shift. With the rise of ubiquitous technology, data-driven design and the Internet of Things, our interactions and our interfaces with technology will look radically different in the years ahead, incorporating changes like full body interaction, shape-changing interfaces, wearables and movement tracking apps. These changes offer an enormous opportunity—indeed, a necessity—to reinvent the way we interact with the inanimate world. Once-familiar, everyday objects, from our phones to our vacuums, require novel interaction models – not just typing text on screens, but, increasingly, movement-based, bodily communication. A qualitative shift is required in our design methods, from a predominantly symbolic, language-oriented design stance, to an experiential, felt, aesthetic stance permeating the whole design and use cycle.
I have been exploring one such design path: soma design —a process that allows designers to ‘examine’ and improve on connections between sensation, feeling, emotion, subjective understanding and values. Some design engages with bodily rhythms, touch, proprioception, bodily playfulness, but also with our values, meaning-making processes, emotions, ethics and ways of engaging with the world. Soma design also provides methods for orchestration of the ‘whole’, emptying the digital and physical materials of all their potential, thereby providing fertile grounds for meaning-making and engagement.

About the speaker:

Kristina Höök is a full Professor in Interaction Design at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm Sweden. Her competence lies mainly in interaction design and user studies helping to form design. Lately, she has been working on designing with the body, a design inquiry into somatics and aesthetics.

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