Engagement: the word which was proclaimed the main slogan of the World Usability Day. Various meetings, conferences and UX workshops around the world have focused on it. Why? Because – if you want your project to be done properly – obtaining your designers’, clients’ and users’ engagement is a must.
There are many reasons you should fight for the engagement of each and every stakeholder in the project, here are some reasons I find most important:
1. Engagement equals better communication
Engaged parties communicate with each other more frequently, which affects the smooth execution of a project. Efficient, bilateral communication creates a stron relationship between those involved in it; however, if it takes the form of a monologue because one of the parties is reserved and rarely reacts, it negatively affects the attitude of the other stakeholders. Think about it, when do you work on a project more efficiently and with greater engagement? Is it when you have to ask for every acceptance, opinion, answer several times? Or is it when you receive the answers quickly and in a timely manner?
2. Engagement means better understanding
By engaging in relations with other stakeholders we are able to better understand their needs and motivations as well as fears and reservations. In case of the clients it allows us to better define their requirements, understand the business situation in which they operate and sense the relations and arrangements inside the company. When it comes to end users we can empathize with them better, understand the context in which they use products and services we are interested in. As a result we can avoid risk related to the transference of our own – not necessarily accurate – beliefs and opinions to the solutions we design.
3. Engagement means better effects of work
Engagement makes products and services better and more valuable. Since we better understand other parties we can create solutions which meet the requirements of the users by providing them with functions they really need and the clients receive a product that meets their business goals.
4. Engagement equals increased satisfaction
Using various methods of building engagement in the project increases the satisfaction of the participants of the project. Sometimes easy solutions are enough: asking the client to make notes during user testing; inviting end users to take part in unusual exploratory research; presenting the effects of work to the team etc. This makes the stakeholders develop the sensation that they are creating something of value, something worth working towards.
5. Engagement prevents getting stuck in a rut
Thanks to other, more non-standard methods of building engagement (gamestorming, gamification, storytelling etc.) no one gets bored during even the longest projects and doesn’t lose their engagement. Appropriately selected solutions allow for maintaining or arousing the fading enthusiasm or awakening it in people who just joined the project or those that don’t feel responsible for the end result.
In short, engagement may transform your project into good fun.
And who doesn’t like to have fun?