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Throughout this book, we have seen the importance placed on user engagement by researchers representing a variety of disciplinary perspectives and working in diverse technological domains. A major conclusion we can draw from the contributed chapters is that engagement is an important mediator of the user experience. This is stated explicitly by Wiebe and Sharek who place engagement squarely between students’ goals and learning outcomes in eLearning environments. Although it may not be as explicitly (or simply) stated in other chapters, this centrality is a common theme. Engagement is positioned as a mediating variable between user characteristics, motivations, and preferences and individual’s ability to locate information, be entertained, learn, or connect with content or others. It is intertwined with the tasks people perform and the complexity of these tasks, as well as the content conveyed and how it is delivered. Ultimately, the hope is that user engagement will affect some kind of change in users for the better—be it affective, cognitive, or behavioural.
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