My thesis work, entitled “User Engage,” is an interactive digital tool used as an aide for communication and conversation. By gaining responses from a large group of individuals, with drastically different perspectives, and displaying them in an interactive format I sought to create a tool to be used as a means to look at their perspectives holistically, to create a deeper form of engaged listening around their responses, and to assist in finding commonalities between these differing parties.
On a more in depth level, the work of “User Engage” has been a way for me to experiment with deeper ideas of digital technologies’ place in contemporary society. Using technological disruptions from the past—such as the Gutenberg Press—as a lens through with which to look at our modern digital tools, I sought to find parallels that imply an impending calming of technology, or a point in the cycle of a technology’s cultural introduction in which it becomes ubiquitous and its level of disruption dissipates. It is in this shift that those of us building the tools must recognize that the technology can transition into the background of everyday life, and we must create with that in mind in order to build tools that enable effective communication.