How do I engage users better?
Become a normal person, or hang out with folks who don’t go to hackathons :-).
The problem with people like us who can make things — whether that be code and/or design — is that we’re busy making things. So we’re not out and enjoying life and being regular people who are happy as a clam not feverishly making anything at all. They are your users and consumers — so you need to be one of them in order to design for them.