Engagement Design: An Ultimate Guide

Engagement Design: An Ultimate Guide

Anna Rózga

2023-11-097 min read

Table of contents

Soaring user engagement is a plain-to-see result that can be assessed using various metrics and monetized. However, in hero/dot's opinion, that's merely the tip of the iceberg. In this article, let's delve deep beneath the surface to explore Engagement Design as a process that leads to achieving the desired results.

From User Experience to User Engagement

Engagement Design as a concept is rooted in Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX). While distinctive disciplines, they share a common goal of improving target audience satisfaction and enjoyment when using the product or service. This naturally leads to the question: How can we measure user engagement or customer engagement? In the late 2000s, scholars such as Heather O’Brien and Elaine Toms dedicated their time and effort to answering this question, resulting in numerous publications and books on the subject. Thus, User Engagement was born.


How to measure User Engagement?

User Engagement refers to the degree of user interaction with a digital experience, product or service. It encompasses a wide array of attitudes and behaviours, such as watching, liking, commenting, sharing, or subscribing. Each of these can be easily quantified with mathematical formulas to evaluate the performance of a given solution. Here are some commonly used user engagement metrics:

  • Time on Page: Also known as session duration, this metric determines the average time spent on a specific web page or app.
  • Retention Rate: User retention represents the percentage of customers who continue to use a service or product over a specific period, indicating ongoing satisfaction.
  • Conversion Rate: This measures the percentage of users who have completed a desired action, for example, making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Similarly, CTR calculates the percentage of users who click on a call to action (CTA) or a link within a certain message.
  • Unique Visitors: This is used to measure how many individual users visit a website or app within a specific period, helping to assess audience size.
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU): An active user is someone who regularly and actively participates in a digital experience, with the extent varying by product or service. The number of unique active users can be measured using various time frames, like daily active users (DAU), weekly active users (WAU), and others.


Various reliable tools are available for measuring user engagement, such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Hotjar, and more. While examining multiple KPIs yields more precise results, remember to select the user engagement metrics most relevant to achieving your business objectives.

Introducing: Engagement Design

Now that we've covered the fundamentals and explained what User Engagement is and how to measure it, we still need to address the question of how to achieve high user engagement rates. It's time to move beyond mere analytics and introduce you to the transformative concept of Engagement Design.

Engagement Design is a (1) multidisciplinary, (2) strategy-driven, (3) client-focused, and (4) human-centered methodology used for creating exceptional brand and digital experiences with the aim of achieving desired User Engagement results.


Let's break down this definition.


Being an Engagement Designer involves drawing from a wealth of knowledge in UX research, branding, and content marketing to meet all the client's engagement-related needs. Additionally, by combining this versatile skill set with hero/dot's expertise in custom software, UX/UI design, and business development, we can provide you with a comprehensive, all-in-one service.


Translating your business, marketing, or brand image goals into practical, creative solutions requires a strategic approach. As Engagement Designers, we help our clients build a community around their product, boost brand recognition, and ultimately increase monetization by analyzing success criteria, conducting thorough research, and equipping them with a suitable strategic solution.


Each project is unique in terms of client engagement: some prefer involvement at every stage of the process, while others want us to deliver the final digital solution. Regardless of your preference, we offer a flexible approach and assume full responsibility for the project. Nevertheless, to better understand your idea, project, or brand, we kick off the process with in-depth client workshops.


Your target audience is more than a number. Behind every download or sale, there's a unique individual with their distinct needs and motivations. Thus, the engagement designer's role is to uncover your users' pain points and gain points through the use of specialized tools like audience research, user personas, and community ecosystems.


User Engagement vs. Engagement Design in a Nutshell

Engagement Design: The Cause

  • A design approach that focuses on crafting digital experiences, products, or services. 
  • Operates at the crossroads of marketing strategy, branding, storytelling, gamification and emotional design.
  • Enables the creation or improvement of high-performance digital products, services or experiences. 
  • Aims to build memorable, immersive and enjoyable experiences for customers and users.
  • Can extend beyond the digital realm, transcending the offline world

User Engagement: The Result

  • The measurable degree to which users interact with a digital experience, product or service.
  • Closely connected to UX design, which focuses on creating and perfecting positive user experiences.
  • Relates to the actual level of interaction rather than specific design techniques to achieve it.
  • Utilizes various user engagement metrics, such as session duration, retention rate, conversion rate, click-through rate, and monthly active users. 
  • Assesses the performance of existing digital products, websites, or services.


Discover hero/dot's Engagement Design Services.

Some clients come with us with an idea for a product and some with an already existing solution that needs enhancement. Either way, it's never too late to benefit from our Engagement Design services. Let's work together to create an immersive digital experience for your community that will keep your users engaged and your conversion rate high. Whether you're interested in the full package or seeking any specific services, we tailor the Engagement Design process to suit your unique business needs.

01. Research & Discovery


Set your project on the right path with reliable data in hand.

Discovery is the essential foundation for all subsequent deliverables. Omitting this crucial first step often results in straying off course and ultimately arriving at mediocre results. Conversely, thorough research and client workshops enable us to make well-informed creative decisions, cutting short any potential risks.

During the discovery stage, we:

  • Uncover the full potential of your business idea during Client Workshops.
  • Validate the concept for your digital product via Desk Research.
  • Analyze what sets your project apart through Competitive Analysis.
  • Identify the target audience and collect user feedback with Audience Research.

The depth of our research depends on the client's preferences. For smaller companies with limited resources, we recommend an approach that combines quantitative or qualitative data with the professional expertise and intuition of engagement designers.

Research Report

Following client workshops and research, we provide a comprehensive Research Report. This document outlines the methodology, test subjects, results, implications, and limitations and serves as the foundation for proposing strategic solutions or selecting between alternative approaches. Equipped with accurate data and knowledge-based recommendations, you can chart a course for positive user engagement and successful monetization.

02. Branding


Outshine your competition with a strong brand identity.

Effective branding goes beyond aesthetically pleasing visual identity. It's a strategic plan that supports your business goals and aligns perfectly with your target audience's desires. As engagement designers, we believe there's no one-size-fits-all brand. Instead, your concept, strategy, and design should resonate with a specific community through its uniqueness, message, and values.

To complete the branding process, we:

  • Uncover your users' needs and motivations with Personas or Protopersonas.
  • Capture your brand's uniqueness in one concise statement called UVP (Unique Value Proposition).
  • Brainstorm the perfect Naming & Claim that embodies your brand's personality.
  • Craft a cohesive Brand Concept, including your brand archetype, values, and tone of voice.
  • Collaborate with graphic designers to create your Visual Identity.

Building an authentic brand presence that attracts loyal customers requires time and resources. Only when combined with a proper user engagement strategy and consistent marketing effort, can your brand become instantly recognizable and truly magnetic.


Brand Manual & Brand Book

To ensure your brand maintains its identity, regardless of the creative specialists involved, we provide two fundamental documents: a Brand Manual and a Brand Book. These documents contain precise guidelines for graphic designers, copywriters, and other professionals on how to consistently create on-brand communication.

03. Communication Strategy


Keep your users engaged and invested with a strategy-driven approach.

When discussing Communication Strategy, we don't mean marketing hacks or blindly following social media trends. Instead, we focus on gaining a profound understanding of your target audience and their desires. At hero/dot, an all-encompassing Communication Strategy aligns with your business requirements while allowing room for creative exploration. Moreover, it ensures a cohesive brand presence across various channels, including those extending to the offline world.

During this stage of the Engagement Design process, we:

  • Plan your activity on chosen media channels within the Content Strategy.
  • Give your brand a distinctive and cohesive voice in a document called Tone of Voice
  • Map out the relationships with all involved parties in the Community Ecosystem.
  • Turn your brand recognition goals into reality with Partners & Sponsors Engagement.

Communication Strategy is perhaps the most unpredictable of the Engagement Design services because the scope, deliverables, and desired results vary each time. That's why we approach this complex task with open minds and a flexible, client-centric approach.

Community Ecosystem

The Community Ecosystem is a specialized tool for describing your target audience in a holistic, systemic manner. It consists of different user tribes, sponsors, partners, influencers, ambassadors, and offline clients. By mapping the intricate connections between these groups, you can ensure you use each communication channel to its full potential.

04. Content Writing


Strike the perfect balance between what's engaging your users and what is optimal for search engines.

This is where the pen meets the paper and ideas are put into words. We take all the prior research, strategy, and design work and channel it into content writing that's both SEO-friendly and delightful to read. From full-length website content to the smallest CTA button, we ensure that each piece of written content serves its purpose, whether it's informing, entertaining, or persuading the reader.

During the Content Writing stage, we:

  • Design an easy-to-follow Information Architecture for your digital product's wireframes.
  • Attract, engage, and delight your readers with top-tier Copywriting.
  • Facilitate user navigation with clear and concise UX Writing.
  • Capture your brand's essence with absorbing Storytelling.
  • Boost your website's position in the SERPs with SEO.

Content Architecture Wireframes

To speed up the design process and save you time and money, Engagement Designers create simplified, content-oriented sketches of the website layout known as Content Architecture Wireframes. These serve as the initial blueprint for UX and UI designers who build advanced, detailed, and visually stunning hi-fi mockups. As the final step, we fill them with engaging content, resulting in a seamless blend of visuals and text.

SEO Copywriting

As Engagement Designers, we don’t create content for Internet archives. Instead, we write with the goal of aligning users' interests and preferences with optimal SEO performance. SEO Copywriting yields tangible benefits in the form of higher search engine rankings.

UX Writing

UX writing is a crucial aspect of user-friendly digital products that should not be overlooked. At hero/dot, we believe that for a positive user experience, the technical, visual, and written elements must work harmoniously.

05. User Engagement


Turn engaged users into loyal customers and, finally, brand ambassadors.

Just like software requires optimization and maintenance, so does Engagement Design. This is particularly true for newly released products, providing a golden opportunity to collect user feedback and make substantial improvements to the user experience. User Engagement can be seen as a maintenance phase, intended to validate and enhance your digital solution for further growth.

To achieve higher User Engagement results, we:

  • Analyze relevant User Engagement metrics with the Engagement Audit.
  • Refine or create a brand new User Engagement Strategy.
  • Map out how users interact with the digital experience through Digital Engagement Paths.
  • Propose an optimized Content Architecture for your landing, website, or app.

As user preferences evolve, maintaining satisfactory results with outdated solutions becomes increasingly challenging. Properly testing, maintaining, and upgrading your product or service is crucial for achieving consistent User Engagement metrics over time.

Engagement Guidelines

At the end of this process, we provide a strategy for turning engaged users into a community of loyal brand ambassadors, thereby increasing the User Engagement rate. Depending on the scope and your goals, we include a detailed report from the Engagement Audit, recommendations for improving user engagement, and a clear set of dos and don'ts.

In conclusion

In this comprehensive guide, we've delved deep beneath the surface into the world of Engagement Design. We hope to have demonstrated that this multidisciplinary, strategy-driven, client-focused, and human-centered design methodology goes well beyond mere analytics, providing a holistic approach to creating outstanding digital experiences. Through Discovery, Branding, Communication Strategy, Content Writing, and User Engagement services, we strike a perfect balance between what's best for your business and your community.

At hero/dot, we are committed to tailoring our Engagement Design services to fit your specific business needs, whether you're just starting or seeking to enhance an existing product. Contact us now to discuss how we can improve user engagement within your digital solution with the power of Engagement Design!

If You Enjoyed this Article, Check Out our Other Publications on Engagement Design:

Pssst! New e-book on Engagement Design coming out soon!

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