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What is user engagement? A conceptual framework for defining user engagement with technology

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Title: What is user engagement? A conceptual framework for defining user engagement with technology
Author: O'Brien, Heather L.; Toms, Elaine G.
Issue Date: 2008
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2011-11-04
Publisher Wiley
Citation: Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, 59(6), 938-955
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to critically deconstruct the term engagement as it applies to peoples’ experiences with technology. Through an extensive, critical multidisciplinary literature review and exploratory study of users of Web searching, online shopping, Webcasting, and gaming applications, we conceptually and operationally defined engagement. Building on past research, we conducted semistructured interviews with the users of four applications to explore their perception of being engaged with the technology. Results indicate that engagement is a process comprised of four distinct stages: point of engagement, period of sustained engagement, disengagement, and reengagement. Furthermore, the process is characterized by attributes of engagement that pertain to the user, the system, and user-system interaction. We also found evidence of the factors that contribute to nonengagement. Emerging from this research is a definition of engagement— a term not defined consistently in past work—as a quality of user experience characterized by attributes of challenge, positive affect, endurability, aesthetic and sensory appeal, attention, feedback, variety/novelty, interactivity, and perceived user control. This exploratory work provides the foundation for future work to test the conceptual model in various application areas, and to develop methods to measure engaging user experiences.
Affiliation: Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), School of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/38785
Peer Review Status: Reviewed
Scholarly Level: Faculty

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