John Knight (University of Central England, UK)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 3
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-562-7.ch031
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Recent trends in HCI have sought to widen the range of use qualities beyond accessibility and usability. The impetus for this is fourfold. First, some argue that consumer behaviour has become more sophisticated and that people expect products to give them a number of life-style benefits. The benefits that products can give people include functional benefits (the product does something) and suprafunctional benefits (the product expresses something). Engagability is thus important in understanding people’s preferences and relationships with products. Second, technological advances offer the possibility of designing experiences that are like those in the real world. Engagability is therefore important in providing an evaluative and exploratory approach to understanding “real” and “virtual” experiences. Third, the experiences that people value (e.g., sports) require voluntary engagement. Thus, engagability is important in designing experiences that require discretionary use. Lastly, the product life cycle suggests the need to look beyond design to engagement. Products change from their initial production, through distribution to consumption. Each phase of this life cycle contains decision-making activities (e.g., purchasing, design, etc.). Engagability is an important research focus in explaining stakeholders’ values in making these decisions. As such, engagability research seeks to understand the nature of experience in the real and virtual worlds. The activities that people become engaged with are often complex and social and thus challenge the traditional HCI focus on the single task directed user. Important application areas for this inquiry are learning, health and sport, and games.

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