Designing Interactive Systems for Work Engagement

Today, experiential aspects are considered when designing ICT based solutions for consumer markets. Surprisingly, however, when interactive solutions and tools for work contexts are being designed, the experiential aspects often are not considered in the design process (Lu & Roto, 2015). Work tools, which are used to accomplish work-related tasks, can contribute to work satisfaction and work engagement, as well as to general well-being on the job. Similarly, interactive technologies and solutions beyond work tools that support well-being at work can facilitate work engagement.

Work engagement refers to a positive work-related state of fulfillment. It is characterized by descriptive attributes such as vigor, dedication, and absorption (Schaufeli et al., 2002). The majority of research on work engagement has focused on evaluating the above specific qualities. Less research focuses on how to design interactive systems and work tools that support, facilitate, and improve work engagement as a complex phenomenon.

This thematic issue of Human Technology: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments focuses on designing interactive technologies and work tools for work engagement. We seek submissions with theoretical, methodological, analytical, or empirical contributions. The work contexts addressed in the papers can vary from industrial plants and factories or warehouses to mobile and office work, and reflect both traditional and nontraditional work environments.

The contributions to this thematic issue can address themes related to designing interactive technologies and work tools for work engagement in the following areas:

  • Analyzing and concretizing the concept of work engagement-related concepts and experiential goals, dimensions, and characteristics, and how these concepts relate to, are used, or are manifested in design and development of interactive technologies or work tools;
  • Analyzing the reasons behind the typical lack of design for work engagement and/or the rising new opportunities and enablers in this field;
  • Analyzing the special circumstances, experiential dimensions, and factors affecting the design of interactive technologies for work engagement;
  • Reviewing the state-of-the art literature as a critical analysis of current research and knowledge, theory building, or methodological foundations or approaches, and/or to identify future research directions and opportunities related to designing for work engagement;
  • Describing design methods (e.g., experience design) and real-life case studies on how to design for work engagement;
  • Describing case studies on novel interactions, application of new technologies (e.g., activity trackers), use of big data, gamification, etc., or any other innovative approach aiming to increase work engagement and/or analyzing the underlying reasons for success or failure to increase work engagement with the designed solutions;
  • Providing solutions and means for communicating intended experiences to stakeholders (within a company, for customers or end-users, or in bids for ICT vendors, etc.) to support design activities;
  • Proposing means and tools for facilitating design for work engagement that is guided by the collaboration and perspectives of the entire design and development team, including designers, developers, etc.;
  • Proposing solutions, means, methods, or tools supporting creating a common mindset within R&D and the company with the aim to create solutions for increased work engagement;
  • Critically analyzing and reflecting on processes necessary for achieving the intended work engagement, what contributes to the achievement, the type of constraints influencing achievement, and lessons learned;
  • Analyzing opportunities, outcomes, or impacts of applying the work engagement concept in design of interactive technologies for work tools,
  • Using work engagement as a design goal, for instance, in influencing and changing the behaviors of workers by means of gamification or other quantified worker approach;
  • Providing a theoretical background or building a theory for relating/connecting interactive technologies and work tools for work engagement.

All submitted papers (minimum of 7,500 words) will be evaluated for originality of texts, suitability within the scope of the thematic issue, and readiness for peer review. Papers meeting the above criteria will be subjected to double-blind review by at least two experts in the topic area of the manuscript.

 Papers accepted for publication in Human Technology must follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed.). Author guidelines are available at

 This call for papers is now closed; authors wishing to submit a paper for consideration should first contact Dr. Heli Väätäjä at with a short description of their submission. Human Technology uses a journal management system. More information for submitting a manuscript will be provided to the corresponding author if the guest editor agrees to accept the paper to the special issue.


Guest Editors

Dr. Heli Väätäjä (Tampere University of Technology, Finland)

Dr. Virpi Roto (Aalto University, Finland)

Dr. Effie Law (University of Leicester, UK)

Prof. Torkil Clemmensen (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)



Lu, Y., & Roto, V. (2015). Evoking meaningful experiences at work: A positive design framework for work tools. Journal of Engineering Design (in press).

Schaufeli, W. B., Salanova, M., González-Romá, V., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). The measurement of engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3(1), 71–92.