my research

Throughout my PhD and 8 year career as a Research Scientist in industrial research labs, I conducted a range of scientific research at the intersection of mobile human-computer interaction (HCI), data science, and applied machine learning. 

At Yahoo Labs I led a team of research scientists focused on large-scale mobile ad analytics. We investigated areas like mobile app/ad recommendations, search algorithms, personalization, ranking and predictive modeling with the ultimate goal of improving mobile ad monetization and performance.  Before that I was part of the Mobile Sensing and User Behavior Research group at Yahoo Labs exploring the future of proactive, context-aware mobile experiences.  During my time at Yahoo I partnered with a range of product teams to shape product improvements, create richer mobile experiences, and guide product direction. Specifically, Yahoo Mobile Search, Flurry, a mobile app analytics platform, Aviate, an intelligent personalised homescreen for Android, and Gemini, Yahoo’s a native advertising platform 

Prior to Yahoo Labs, I was a Research Scientist in Telefonica Research exploring mobile computing, mobile HCI, context-aware recommender systems, mobile messaging and social computing. My PhD, conducted in University College Dublin (UCD) focusing on mobile information needs, mobile information access behaviours and intelligent mobile search.  The common thread over the course of my scientific research career was in combining large-scale, quantitative analysis and with in-depth qualitative insights to provide a rounded, holistic understanding of users and their behaviours to shape future directions and product innovation. 

I have published ~50 peer-reviewed papers in top tier conferences in human computer interaction, mobile computing, information retrieval and recommender systems. My research has attracted over 2800 citations. I have served on the steering, conference and program committees for conferences including CHI, WWW, MobileHCI, RecSys and IUI. I reviewed academic papers for a range of conferences and journals, organised multiples workshops, taught courses and tutorials, and mentored some fantastic PhD students as interns 

I’m no longer actively publishing, reviewing research papers, or serving on conference committees, but I’m still connected to many of these communities. 

Below you’ll find selected publications and more details of my professional activities


Below are a selection of my conference publications. To access the full set please see my my Google Scholar page.

  • Bentley, F., Peesapati, T., and Church, K. (2016) “I thought she would like to read it”: Exploring Sharing Behaviors in the Context of Declining Mobile Web Use. In Proceedings of CHI 2016 [ download ] 
  • Bentley, F., Church, K., Harrison, B., Lyons, K., and Rafalow, M. Three Hours a Day: Understanding Current Teen Practices of Smartphone Application Use.  arXiv:1510.05192 [ download ]
  • Best Paper Nominee / Honorable Mention Award Church, K., Ferreira, D., Banovic, N. and Lyons, K. (2015) Understanding the Challenges of Mobile Phone Usage Data. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI’15) [ download ]
  • Church, K., Cherubini, M., and Oliver, N. (2014) A Large Scale Study of Daily Information Needs Captured In-Situ. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 21, 2, Article 10 (February 2014), 46 pages. [ download ].
  • Winner Best Paper Award Pielot, M., Church, K. and de Oliveira, R. (2014) An In-Situ Study of Mobile Phone Notifications. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI’14). ACM [ download ]
  • Church, K. (2013) Exploring the social side to mobile search (essay contribution), In Designing the Search Experience: The Information Architecture of Discovery, by Tony Russell-Rose and Tyler Tate. Morgan Kaufmann. 2013
  • Best Paper Nominee / Honorable Mention Award Church, K. and de Oliveira, R. (2013) What’s up with WhatsApp? Comparing Current Instant Messaging Habits with Traditional SMS. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI’13). ACM [ download ]
  • Karatzoglou, A., Baltrunas, L., Church, K. and Böhmer, M. (2012) Climbing the App Wall: Enabling Mobile App Discovery through Context-Aware Recommendations. In Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM’12). ACM [ download ]
  • Church, K. and Cherubini, M. (2010) Evaluating Mobile User Experience In-The-Wild: Prototypes, Playgrounds and Contextual Experience Sampling. Research in the Large Workshop (held as part of UbiComp ’10). [ download ]
  • Church, K and Smyth, B. (2009) Understanding the intent behind mobile information needs. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI ’09). ACM [ download ]
  • Church, K., Smyth, B., Cotter, P. and Bradley, K. (2007) Mobile Information Access: A Study of Emerging Search Behaviour on the Mobile Internet. ACM Transactions on the Web (TWEB), 1(1):4 [ download ]

Professional Research Activities

Steering Committees

ACM Mobile HCI Conference

Conference Committees

PC Memberships


  • MobileHCI 2014-2016
  • IUI 2014-2015
  • CIKM 2014
  • ICWSM 2013 (workshops), 2014
  • WWW 2009,2013-2014
  • CHI WiP 2012-2013
  • UbiComp 2012
  • MobiWIS 2012
  • IJCAI 2011
  • MobileHCI 2010 Design Competition (judge)


  • LocWeb2014 @ CIKM 2014
  • Inconspicuous Interaction @ CHI 2014
  • HIAI 2013
  • PhoneCom 20112-2013
  • WCMCW 2012
  • CaaR 2012
  • Research in the Large 2010-2012
  • VISSW 2010-2011

Reviewing Duties


  • ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (TIST)
  • IEEE Computer
  • IEEE Intelligent Systems
  • IEEE Services + Apps
  • JASIST – Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
  • International Journal of Human-Computer Studies


  • CSCW 2015
  • MobileHCI 2012-2015
  • UbiComp 2010, 2012, 2015
  • CHI 2010-2014
  • IUI 2008-2015
  • WWW 2008-2014
  • CIKM 2014
  • ICWSM 2014
  • UIST 2011
  • UMAP 2010
  • Pervasive 2008
  • IJCAI 2009


  • Inconspicuous Interaction @ CHI 2014
  • PhoneCom 2012
  • CaaR 2012
  • VISSW 2010-2011
  • Research in the Large 2010-2012

Workshop Organization


  • Designing and deploying mobile user studies in-the-wild: a practical guide @ ELISAVA, Postgrad diploma on Coolhunting, Jan 2013
  • Designing and deploying mobile user studies in-the-wild: a practical guide @ MobileHCI 2012 [ slides ]