The word 'engagement' is often an ambiguous term. It's used in various ways by different people and industries, and is often a catch-all word that stands in for real action. When a politician says she's going to 'engage with people in the industry', does she mean she's going to talk to them? Listen to them? Spend the day with them? Converse, debate, wrestle with them?
That's why it's great that when World Usability Day announced 'engagement' as their theme for this year's event on 13 November 2014, they explained exactly what they meant:
User Experience is all about engagement. Technology, products and services are usable when they engage people. At work we strive to engage with those around us—whether they’re users, colleagues, or stakeholders. It means getting people on board with an idea, earning trust, and working toward mutual goals...
This is the year to think out of the box. How can you engage people to use technology products and services? What kind of design thinking needs to be incorporated to keep people engaged? How can you engage those outside our field to understand the importance of a good user experience?
How we're celebrating the theme of engagement (read on, it's pretty engaging...)
We thought we'd tap into the theme of engagement with the competition we're running for the event. Ourselves and other excellent companies in the industry are giving away a UX package worth...well, a LOT of money, and a lot to the company or individual who wins (which, not incidentally, will also mean a lot to the people who use their products or services).
From 13 November 2014, people will be able to enter our competition which asks them to:
Upload a photo of the most engaging thing you've seen today (online or offline) and then write a short explanation of why the subject is engaging.
What Optimal Workshop peeps found engaging yesterday
To give people an idea of what we mean (and just for fun), three of us at Optimal Workshop have uploaded our own photos of things we found engaging yesterday.
Yasmin Stewart, UX Designer
'Walking down the main street yesterday this sign caught my eye (and the eyes of several other passer-bys) propped up outside a building under construction. It is creative and funny and left me intrigued about which of the builders inside had made the sign. Pretty engaging!'
Kathryn Reeves, Writer
'Havana is a 24-second walk from our front door — across the road and to the left. They dose us up on coffee every morning. They roast their own beans and ship them off to caffeine-craving people around New Zealand in huge brown paper bags covered in sketches drawn by their baristas. Great coffee, great people — and totally engaging space. Every time I walk in I see something different.'
Andrew Mayfield, CEO
'So I'm still waiting on my new iPhone to show up. I'm not shaking with anticipation or anything but I can admit to being pleased when Apple sms'd me this morning to say "Today is the day!" and then disappointed me when it was only the case that arrived. So Ellery, a thoughtful teammate here at OW, printed one off using our 3D printer so I'd have something to put in the new case. It's not quite as fast as my old phone for looking things up online, but it is a lot more peaceful with it's no-notifications-functionality default setting. As a bonus, I got to find out that the pocket within the pocket of my new Uniqlo Chinos happens(?!) to fit an iPhone 6+ perfectly. Good times.'
What you can expect over the next few weeks
We've asked companies who are giving away products as part of the prize to send us photos of what they find engaging, and we'll be publishing those, which will be very cool. Keep an eye on our twitter account (@optimalworkshop) so you can catch the competition start date. It's going to be epic!