Faculty Seminar Series

User Engagement: A Scientific Challenge

The Faculty of Informatics is pleased to announce a seminar given by Mounia Lalmas

DATE: Wednesday, March 21st 2012
PLACE: USI Università della Svizzera italiana, room SI-008, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)
TIME: 15.30

In the online world, user engagement refers to the quality of the user experience that emphasises the positive aspects of the interaction with technology and, in particular, the phenomena associated with wanting to use that technology longer and frequently. This definition is motivated by the observation that successful technologies are not just used, but they are engaged with. Engagement is measured in many ways, through self-report methods (e.g., questionnaires), observer methods (e.g., facial expression analysis, speech analysis, desktop actions, etc.), neuro-physiological signal processing methods (e.g., respiratory and cardiovascular accelerations and decelerations, muscle spasms, etc.), and from a web analytics perspective (through online behaviour metrics that assess users’ depth of engagement with a site). However, little is known in validating and relating the measures coming from these various angles and so providing a firm basis for assessing the quality of the user experience, in terms of engagement. My goal is to address this problem by combining techniques from web analytics and existing works on user engagement coming from the domains of information science, multimodal human computer interaction and cognitive psychology.

This talk comprises three "inter-woven" parts: (1) I will define user engagement, list its many characteristics as identified in the research and analytic literature, and discuss  the challenges associated with measuring user engagement. (2) I will describe data-driven approaches looking at user engagement through the development of models that allow for a better understanding of how users engage within and across different web services. (3) I will describe how looking at affect and cognition is providing additional insights into measuring user engagement.

This work was done in collaboration with Ioannis Arapakis, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Georges Dupret, Janette Lehmann, Lori McCay-Peet, Vidhya Navalpakkam and Elad Yom-Tov.

Mounia Lalmas joined Yahoo! Research in January 2011, as a visiting principal scientist. Prior to this, she held a Microsoft Research/RAEng Research Chair at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow. Before that, she was Professor of Information Retrieval at the Department of Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London, which she joined in 1999 as a lecturer (aka assistant professor). From 2002 until 2007, she co-led the Evaluation Initiative for XML Retrieval (INEX), a large-scale project with over 80 participating organisations worldwide, which was responsible for defining the nature of XML retrieval, and how it should be evaluated. While at Glasgow, she has been working on applying quantum theory to model information retrieval. She also works on result presentation and evaluation for aggregated search, and technologies for bridging the digital divide. Her new research agenda is to develop models of user engagements and associated user engagement metrics.

HOST: Prof. Fabio Crestani

URL: http://www.inf.usi.ch