My research explores user engagement (UE) with technology. Specifically, I am interested in the conceptual nature of UE (What is it? What attributes of people, systems, and contexts facilitate or detract from engagement? Why do people disengage?), and how to measure it in computer mediated environments.

Over the past several years I have focused on two streams of research: theory and measurement. To this end, I have

  • developed a conceptual Process Model of User Engagement and tested/refined it in different computer-mediated environments
  • created and evaluated the reliability and validity of a 31-item experiential questionnaire, the User Engagement Scale (UES) to measure user engagement with technology.

The UES has been adapted by over 50 international research teams, who have used it to examine UE with educational technologies, search systems, haptic technologies, health and consumer applications, and other media. This work has led to productive collaborations with academic and industry researchers.

My current research projects are focused on the personal and social outcomes of user engagement. This work seeks to inform the design of information systems and contribute further to the measurement of user engagement, but, more importantly, to bring a more nuanced understanding to the impact of engaging technologies on people’s lives. 

Core Research Projects:


Antecedents and Learning Outcomes of Exploratory Search Engagement 2016-2019 

This research frames exploratory search as an educational and societal investment. It recognizes that information needs cannot always be reduced to a simple query and multiple sources may be needed to piece together evidence, solve a problem, or make a decision. Through funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, we are exploring the intersection of user (e.g., cognitive ability, topic expertise) and task (e.g., complexity) characteristics and learning in exploratory search environments with respect to user engagement. We are developing, using and evaluating subjective and objective measures of UE and learning, with the hope that we will contribute to the robustness of measurement approaches in interactive information retrieval.

This work is supported by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant [2016-2019]


What Engages Information Seekers? Predicting User Engagement with Digital Libraries 2015-2017

Funded by: University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Hampton Research Grant.

User Engagement with Digital Media 2009-2014 

Funded by: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Graphics, Animation and New Media Project, Network Centre of Excellent (GRAND NCE). 

Designing Digital Use Environments to Support Academic Work 2009-2012
Co-investigators: Dr. Luanne Freund and Dr. Rick Kopak

Funded by: University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Hampton Research Grant.

Engagement Lab