Person of the Day: Professor Kaisa Väänänen



Kaisa Väänänen has been a full professor of user experience – more precisely human-computer interaction / software engineering – in Tampere University of Technology since 2005. Prior to that, Kaisa worked for about ten years in Nokia, leading various user needs and consumer research activities. In TIE lab, Kaisa is the head of Human-Centered Technology research group IHTE. Research in IHTE focuses on user experience of mobile and ubiquitous systems with the aim of improving people’s quality of life through novel interactive technologies.

Kaisa’s study years were very international: During her studies of software engineering in Technical University of Helsinki, Kaisa spent a year in University of Minnesota studying artificial intelligence (yes, it existed already in 1980s!) and another year studying Human-Computer Interaction in University of London. In early 1990s, Kaisa worked as a researcher in Computer Graphics Center in Darmstadt, Germany where she obtained her doctoral degree in Technical University of Darmstadt.

Kaisa’s passion at work stems from the idea that people should be able to enjoy life in the world embedded with well-designed technologies. No one should suffer from bad user experience nor blame themselves for not being able to use new (or old) technology-mediated systems. There are no “stupid users”, just bad designs! That’s why human-centered design is so crucial in technology development.

At TUT, Kaisa has lead research projects in a broad spectrum of topics related to investigating and improving machines, mobile services and ubiquitous systems. Currently Kaisa leads, for example, research on how to improve electric bus passengers’ experience with novel digital services (the Living Lab Bus project). Starting in January 2018, Kaisa acts in the ALL-YOUTH consortium funded by Strategic Research Council (STN) associated with Academy of Finland. In ALL-YOUTH, Kaisa’s team will investigate innovative digital means to help young people to participate in societal decision making.

In the international research community, Kaisa has chaired various conference activities, especially in CHI, MobileHCI and Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM) conferences. Kaisa is also the head of the steering committee of MobileHCI conference series.

Since 2013, Kaisa is a member of the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering in Academy of Finland.

Kaisa lives with her family in Pirkkala near Tampere. She believes that wearable devices can help keep up healthy work-life balance. Kaisa is especially delighted to spend time with her two wonderful teenagers, Samuel (born 1999) and Helena (2003). During her free time, Kaisa likes to do sports (gym, running, biking), travel all over the world, do renovation tasks in her house and meet up with friends.

See Kaisa’s homepage for more details of Kaisa’s professional activities and publications.

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