Abstract: We study how the visual catchiness (saliency) of relevant information impacts user engagement metrics such as focused attention and emotion (affect). Participants completed tasks in one of two conditions, where the task-relevant information either appeared salient or non-salient. Our analysis provides insights into relationships between saliency, focused attention, and affect. Participants reported more distraction in the non-salient condition, and non-salient information was slower to find than salient. Lack- of-saliency led to a negative impact on affect, while saliency maintained positive affect, suggesting its helpfulness. Participants reported that it was easier to focus in the salient condition, although there was no significant improvement in the focused attention scale rating. Finally, this study suggests user interest in the topic is a good predictor of focused attention, which in turn is a good predictor of positive affect. These results suggest that enhancing saliency of user-interested topics seems a good strategy for boosting user engagement. Download: Chi2012.pdf ACM COPYRIGHT NOTICE. Copyright © 2012 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or firstname.lastname@example.org.