Note: Professor Lukoff is currently on paternity leave. He will return April 3, 2023.

Dr. Kai Lukoff is an Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, where he directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. He uses human centered methods to research, design, and develop technologies with social impact.

His work explores how digital interfaces can lead to meaningful or meaningless experiences and support or undermine user sense of agency. He has redesigned features of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and tested their effects on digital wellbeing in field experiments.

In recent work with Native American partners and students at Santa Clara University, he is creating an augmented reality tour that shows visitors pasts, presents, and futures of the Ohlone Tribe on campus.

His research has been published at CHI, CSCW, IMWUT, DIS, and in Mindfulness Journal and his dissertation received a 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award from ACM SIGCHI. He previously completed his PhD at the University of Washington in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, where he was co-advised by Drs. Sean Munson and Alexis Hiniker. He also previously lived in China for 6 years where he worked as a product manager at mobile internet startups.


  • Mar 9, 2023: I teamed up with SCU Professors Amy Lueck (English) and Lee Panich (Anthropology) to submit a proposal that was awarded a 2023 Whitham Family Collaborative Scholarship Award for interdisciplinary research. The award ($30,000) will fund our creation of an augmented reality (AR) tour of the Santa Clara University campus that tells the story of the Ohlone, the Native Americans who have stewarded the land of our campus for hundreds of years. [Read more]
  • Feb 14, 2023: I received the 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award from ACM SIGCHI, the professional organization for human-computer interaction researchers. The award citation states, “Kai’s dissertation has provoked, and will continue to provoke, conversations that have helped the HCI, social computing, and ubicomp fields gain a better understanding of what, exactly, we mean by digital wellbeing and how to achieve it.” [link to dissertation]
  • Jan 13, 2023: Our paper has been conditionally accepted to the 2023 CHI Conference: “SwitchTube: A Proof-of-Concept System Introducing ‘Adaptable Commitment Interfaces’ as a Tool for Digital Wellbeing.” The pre-print manuscript is available here.
  • Jan 13, 2023: Our paper has been conditionally accepted to the 2023 CHI Conference: “Defining and Identifying Attention Capture Deceptive Designs in Digital Interfaces.” The pre-print manuscript is available here.
  • I’m recruiting PhD students to work with me starting in the 2023-2024 academic year. Please email me with your CV and a brief description of why your skills and interests are a good fit for our HCI research lab — we can then schedule a time to speak.