My research focuses on understanding the nature of user engagement in various contexts, including online news, web search, and mobile search environments, and creating and critically evaluating measures of user engagement.

What Engages Information Seekers? Predicting User Engagement with Digital Libraries [2015-2017]
The goal of digital libraries is to convey information for the purposes of enlightening, entertaining, and educating users.  Achieving these goals is imperative for satisfying and re-engaging end users.  Cultural organizations need to ensure that they are delivering content in a compelling manner that maximizes the investment of time, staff and other resources. This work seeks to evaluate the design qualities of select digital libraries and to conduct two user studies to address two important questions: 1. How do we know whether a digital library is engaging? and 2. What, in terms of content and design features, contributes to user engagement or disengagement with digital libraries. This research has practical outcomes for digital library research and application, and aims to benefit not only end-users but the organizations that host these information-rich resources. 

This work is supported by a University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Hampton Research Grant.

User Engagement with Digital Media [2009-2014]
The objectives of my research are:
  • To explore the nature of and to model user engagement in various digital contexts, including online news, web search and mobile search.
  • To investigate how to measure user engagement, including self-report, performance, and physiological metrics, and to look at how these various measures triangulate.
  • To examine the generalizability of the User Engagement Scale.  The User Engagement Scale (UES) is a 31-item questionnaire designed to evaluate system (usability, aesthetic appeal, novelty) and user (focused atttention, felt involvement) attributes of user engagement.  
This work is supported by the 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
The purpose of this research is to enhance the interactivity and scholarly utility of digital information environments, specifically the Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal System (OJS), developed at UBC. Current online academic environments support the finding of information; our goal is to create tools and interfaces that enable students and scholars to engage with material through focused reading, linking and connection building, and annotating for personal use and public view, all of which will create a more dynamic learning environment.

This work is supported by a University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Hampton Research Grant.