Towards a science of user engagement (Position Paper)

Jan 1, 2011
[Work published prior to Yahoo]

User engagement is a key concept in designing user-centred web applications. It refers to the quality of the user experience that emphasises the positive aspects of the interaction, and in particular the phenomena associated with being captivated by technology. This definition is motivated by the observation that successful technologies are not just used, but they are engaged with. Numerous methods have been proposed in the literature to measure engagement, however, little has been done to validate and relate these measures and so provide a firm basis for assessing the quality of the user experience. Engagement is heavily influenced, for example, by the user interface and its associated process flow, the user’s context, value system and incentives. In this paper we propose an approach to relating and developing unified measures of user engagement. Our ultimate aim is to define a framework in which user engagement can be studied, measured, and explained, leading to recommendations and guidelines for user interface and interaction design for front-end web technology. Towards this aim, in this paper, we consider how existing user engagement metrics, web analytics, information retrieval metrics, and measures from immersion in gaming can bring new perspective to defining, measuring and explaining user engagement.

  • WSDM Workshop on User Modelling for Web Applications, Hong Kong, China
  • Conference/Workshop Paper