Engagement, Stickiness and Adherence: Keeping users entranced, even when it's for their own good

October 17, 2007
2:50 pm - 4:00 pm
Halligan 111B
Host: Rob Jacob


Dot coms care about keeping users on their web sites as long as possible and getting them to return again and again. Game designers want to keep players entrained and engaged. Many businesses have shifted to relationship marketing and its emphasis on retention of long-term customers. What these phenomena have in common is a desire to keep users of a service or application coming back for more. In this talk I will discuss some of the frameworks and strategies for understanding and promoting long-term engagement within these application areas, and present theories from personal relationship psychology as a unifying framework. Iíll then present a series of systems Iíve developed that incorporate a fairly explicit model of human social bonding in order to maintain long-term engagement with users. Most of these systems take the form of animated conversational health counselors designed to promote long-term health behavior change, although we are also applying these relational models to a virtual museum guide for the Boston Museum of Science. In all of these applications, retaining users is taken as a pre-requisite to any application outcome goals, whether they are behavior change, education or entertainment.