Table of Contents
What is “Hooked”?
“Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” is a book written by Nir Eyal, published in 2014. The book explores the psychology and techniques behind designing products and services that can create user habits. Nir Eyal introduces a model called the “Hook Model” to explain how habits are formed and provides practical advice for entrepreneurs, product designers, and marketers on how to use this knowledge to build products that users can’t resist.
“Hooked” explores the psychology of habit formation and provides a practical framework, the Hook Model, for building products and services that engage users and create lasting habits.
The Hook Model consists of four key components:
- Trigger: Triggers are cues that prompt users to take action. There are two types: external triggers (such as notifications, ads, or messages) and internal triggers (emotions, thoughts, or feelings).
- Action: This is the behavior or action the user takes in response to the trigger. It could be something as simple as opening an app, scrolling through a feed, or clicking on a link.
- Variable Reward: Users are more likely to engage with a product when they anticipate a reward. Variable rewards are unpredictable and keep users engaged over time. Rewards can be in the form of social validation, material gain, or something else the user values.
- Investment: This is where the user invests something in the product or service, such as time, effort, or data. Investments increase the likelihood of the user returning to the product to gain value from their previous investments.
Nir Eyal provides real-world examples and case studies to illustrate how companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have effectively used the Hook Model to create habit-forming products. He also discusses ethical considerations and the responsibility of product creators in building products that genuinely benefit users.
The book has been influential in the fields of product design, marketing, and behavioral psychology. It has sparked discussions about the ethics of designing habit-forming products and the potential for addiction and overuse. “Hooked” is often recommended for entrepreneurs, product managers, and anyone interested in understanding the psychology of user engagement and habit formation in the digital age.
The Author’s Journey
Nir Eyal’s journey in writing “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” was shaped by his background in technology, entrepreneurship, and his fascination with behavioral psychology. Here’s a breakdown of the background to the book and his journey:
- Technology and Entrepreneurship Background: Nir Eyal has a background in technology and entrepreneurship. He worked in various roles, including as a consultant and entrepreneur, and this experience exposed him to the challenges of building successful products in a competitive digital landscape.
- Interest in Behavioral Psychology: Eyal’s interest in psychology, particularly behavioral psychology, played a significant role in the development of his ideas for the book. He was intrigued by the question of why people use certain products and services repeatedly, while others fall by the wayside.
- Desire to Understand User Engagement: Eyal’s curiosity led him to delve deeper into the mechanisms behind user engagement and habit formation in the context of digital products and services. He wanted to understand what makes some products so compelling that users can’t resist using them regularly.
- Observations and Research: Eyal conducted extensive research and analysis, drawing from academic studies, interviews with industry experts, and his own experiences in the tech world. This research helped him form the foundation for the Hook Model, which he presents in the book.
- Ethical Considerations: Throughout his research, Eyal grappled with the ethical implications of designing products that aim to create user habits. He recognized that the same principles that make products engaging could also lead to addiction or misuse, raising important ethical questions.
- Writing “Hooked”: Eyal’s journey culminated in the writing of “Hooked.” The book was intended to be a guide for product designers, entrepreneurs, and marketers, helping them understand how to create habit-forming products responsibly. It aimed to provide actionable insights and practical strategies based on psychological principles.
- Impact and Reception: “Hooked” was well-received and became influential in the tech industry and beyond. It sparked discussions about the ethics of product design and raised awareness about the power of habit-forming products. Eyal’s work on this topic continued to evolve, and he also started addressing the broader issue of digital distraction and time management.
In summary, Nir Eyal’s background in technology, entrepreneurship, and his interest in behavioral psychology led him to explore the factors behind habit-forming products. His journey culminated in the writing of “Hooked,” which aimed to provide a practical framework for creating engaging products while acknowledging the ethical considerations involved in doing so.
“Hooked” has eight chapters:
- The Habit Zone: This chapter likely introduces the concept of habit formation and why it’s important for businesses. It sets the stage for the subsequent chapters by emphasizing the value of building products that users habitually engage with.
- Trigger: This chapter explores the first component of the Hook Model: triggers. It explains how triggers can prompt users to take action and how they can be designed to initiate user engagement with a product.
- Action: In this chapter, Eyal delves into the second part of the Hook Model, which is the user’s action. It explains the behaviors that users perform in response to triggers and how to make these actions more likely to occur.
- Variable Reward: This chapter discusses the concept of variable rewards. It explains why unpredictability in rewards can keep users engaged over the long term and how to incorporate this into product design.
- Investment: Here, Eyal explores the investment phase of the Hook Model. It discusses how users become more engaged with a product when they invest something (time, effort, data) into it.
- What Are You Going to Do with This?: This chapter may offer practical advice and strategies for implementing the Hook Model concepts discussed in previous chapters. It likely provides actionable steps for product designers and entrepreneurs.
- Case Study: The Bible App: This chapter presents a real-world case study of how the Hook Model principles were applied to the Bible App. It offers a concrete example of how the concepts discussed in the book can be used in practice.
- Habit Testing and Where to Look for Habit-Forming Opportunities: This chapter may focus on testing and iterating on habit-forming products. It could also provide insights into where to find opportunities for building habit-forming products and services.
Overall, “Hooked” is designed to be a practical guide for individuals and businesses looking to understand and leverage the psychology of habit formation to create products that users can’t resist. The book combines theory with real-world examples and actionable advice to help readers apply the principles discussed in each chapter.
Chapter 1: The Habit Zone
Chapter 1 of Nir Eyal’s book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” is titled “The Habit Zone.” In this chapter, Eyal lays the foundation for the rest of the book by introducing the concept of habit formation and explaining its importance for businesses. He explores the psychology behind habits and how companies can leverage this understanding to create products that users repeatedly engage with. To illustrate the key learnings from this chapter, let’s delve deeper into the concepts discussed using examples and case studies.
Understanding the Habit Loop:
Eyal begins by introducing the concept of the “Habit Loop,” which consists of three components: Trigger, Action, and Reward. This loop is at the core of habit formation. To illustrate this concept, consider the case of Twitter:
- Trigger: Twitter uses external triggers like notifications, emails, and trending topics to prompt users to take action. When users receive a notification that someone has mentioned them or that there is a new tweet from an account they follow, they are triggered to open the app.
- Action: The action in this case is opening the Twitter app and checking the notification or tweet. Users engage with the app by scrolling through their timeline or interacting with the content.
- Reward: Twitter provides variable rewards to users. The reward could be social validation when someone likes or retweets their post, the discovery of interesting content, or a sense of connection with the Twitter community.
The Role of Emotions:
Eyal emphasizes that emotions play a significant role in habit formation. Products that evoke emotions are more likely to create user habits. Facebook is a prime example:
- Trigger: Facebook uses both external triggers (notifications, emails) and internal triggers (boredom, curiosity, FOMO – Fear of Missing Out) to prompt users to take action.
- Action: Users open the Facebook app to check their feed, post updates, or interact with friends’ content. The emotional element here is the anticipation of social connection and the potential for positive emotional experiences.
- Reward: Facebook offers variable rewards, such as likes, comments, and shares. These interactions evoke positive emotions like happiness, validation, and a sense of belonging, reinforcing the habit loop.
The Investment Phase:
Eyal also introduces the concept of the Investment Phase, where users invest something in the product, making them more likely to return. For example, LinkedIn encourages users to invest time in building their professional profiles:
- Trigger: Users might receive an email notification about someone viewing their profile or a suggested connection.
- Action: They visit the LinkedIn website or app, view the profile, and may decide to connect with the person who viewed their profile.
- Reward: The reward is the potential for professional networking and opportunities. Importantly, users have invested time in creating and maintaining their profiles, which serves as a commitment to continue using LinkedIn.
Eyal touches upon the ethical implications of habit-forming products. For instance, while habits can be used for positive purposes, there is also the risk of addiction and overuse. This brings up the ethical responsibility of product designers and companies to ensure their products benefit users and society at large.
In conclusion, Chapter 1 of “Hooked” sets the stage for understanding the psychology of habit formation and how it applies to product design. By dissecting the Habit Loop, examining emotional triggers, and emphasizing the Investment Phase, Eyal provides valuable insights for creating habit-forming products. However, it also highlights the importance of ethical considerations in product development, emphasizing the need to balance user engagement with responsible design.
Chapter 2: Trigger
Chapter 2 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is titled “Trigger.” In this chapter, Eyal explores the concept of triggers, both external and internal, and how they play a pivotal role in creating habits around products and services. Triggers serve as cues that prompt users to take action, and understanding how to effectively use triggers is essential for building habit-forming products.
External triggers are cues from the external environment that prompt users to take action. They are often associated with notifications, advertisements, or messages. One of the most well-known examples of external triggers is Instagram:
- Trigger: When a user receives a notification that someone has liked their photo or left a comment, they are prompted to open the Instagram app.
- Action: The action is opening the app to see who liked or commented on their post. Once inside the app, users may continue scrolling through their feed, posting new content, or engaging with others’ posts.
- Reward: The reward is the social validation and connection users feel when they see the likes and comments on their posts. Instagram effectively uses external triggers, such as push notifications, to keep users engaged and returning to the app.
Internal triggers, on the other hand, are cues that originate from within the user, often tied to emotions or psychological states. To illustrate internal triggers, let’s look at the example of the meditation app Headspace:
- Trigger: A user might feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, which creates an internal trigger prompting them to seek relief or relaxation.
- Action: In response to this internal trigger, the user opens the Headspace app to engage in a meditation session.
- Reward: The reward is a sense of calm, reduced stress, and improved well-being. The user’s internal trigger, in this case, is an emotional state that leads them to the app for relief.
Case Study: WhatsApp’s External Triggers:
WhatsApp, the popular messaging app, provides a case study in the effective use of external triggers:
- Trigger: WhatsApp uses external triggers in the form of notifications when a user receives a new message. These notifications are both visual (pop-up alerts) and auditory (notification sounds).
- Action: Users are prompted to open the app to read the message and respond, leading to engagement with the platform.
- Reward: The reward is the satisfaction of timely communication and staying connected with friends and family. WhatsApp’s clever use of external triggers keeps users engaged throughout the day.
Creating Habitual Behavior with Triggers:
Eyal explains that the goal of using triggers is to create habitual behavior. By repeatedly pairing triggers with actions and rewards, products can become integrated into users’ daily routines. For example, fitness tracking apps like Fitbit often employ external triggers in the form of reminders to encourage users to log their daily exercise routines. Over time, these triggers lead to a habit of regular exercise tracking.
In conclusion, Chapter 2 of “Hooked” highlights the critical role that triggers play in the formation of user habits around products and services. Whether through external triggers like notifications or internal triggers tied to emotions, understanding how to effectively use these cues is essential for creating habit-forming experiences. By examining real-world examples like Instagram, Headspace, and WhatsApp, we can see how triggers can be strategically employed to keep users engaged and coming back to a product or service.
Chapter 3: Action
Chapter 3 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is titled “Action.” In this chapter, Eyal explores the second component of the Hook Model, which is the action users take in response to a trigger. He delves into the psychology of user behavior and how to make actions more likely to occur.
Understanding User Action:
In the context of habit formation, an action is the behavior that a user performs in response to a trigger. This could be something as simple as clicking a link, opening an app, or scrolling through a social media feed. Understanding user actions is crucial because they are the bridge between the trigger and the reward.
Case Study: Facebook’s “Like” Button:
One of the most iconic examples of designing for action is Facebook’s “Like” button:
- Trigger: The trigger in this case is often an external one, such as seeing a friend’s post in your feed.
- Action: The action is clicking the “Like” button. It’s a simple and easy action that users can take with a single click.
- Reward: The reward is the social validation and acknowledgment users receive when they “Like” a post. This creates a positive feedback loop where users are more likely to engage with the content by clicking “Like,” which, in turn, leads to more external triggers (e.g., notifications) when others engage with their posts.
Facebook carefully designed the “Like” button to be incredibly easy to use, making it a low-friction action. This simplicity encourages users to engage with the platform repeatedly, reinforcing the habit loop.
Increasing the Likelihood of Action:
Eyal discusses several factors that can increase the likelihood of users taking action:
- Motivation: Users must be motivated to take action. This motivation can be driven by external factors (e.g., notifications) or internal factors (e.g., personal goals or desires). For example, a fitness app can motivate users to take action by reminding them of their fitness goals.
- Ability: Actions must be easy to perform. Reducing friction in the action phase makes it more likely that users will follow through. For instance, Uber simplified the process of requesting a ride to just a few taps on a smartphone, making it easy for users to take action.
- Triggers: Effective triggers prompt users to take action at the right moment. For instance, email marketing campaigns often use time-limited offers as triggers to encourage immediate action.
Case Study: Amazon’s “Buy Now” Button:
Amazon’s “Buy Now” button is another excellent example of optimizing for action:
- Trigger: The trigger could be a user’s desire to purchase a product or an email promotion from Amazon.
- Action: The action is clicking the “Buy Now” button. Amazon has made this action incredibly easy by reducing the number of clicks required to make a purchase.
- Reward: The reward is the satisfaction of making a quick and convenient purchase. This reinforces the habit of returning to Amazon for online shopping.
In conclusion, Chapter 3 of “Hooked” emphasizes the importance of understanding and optimizing user actions in the context of habit-forming products. By examining examples like Facebook’s “Like” button and Amazon’s “Buy Now” button, we can see how carefully designing actions to be both motivating and easy to perform can contribute to the creation of habit-forming experiences.
Chapter 4: Variable Reward
Chapter 4 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is titled “Variable Reward.” In this chapter, Eyal explores the third component of the Hook Model, which is the concept of variable rewards. He explains how unpredictability in the rewards users receive can keep them engaged and create habits around products and services.
Understanding Variable Rewards:
Variable rewards are rewards that are not delivered consistently or predictably. They create an element of uncertainty, making users more eager to engage with a product or service repeatedly. Eyal discusses how variable rewards tap into the psychology of anticipation and curiosity.
Case Study: Slot Machines and Gambling Apps:
A classic example of variable rewards can be found in slot machines at casinos and gambling apps. The reward in this context is winning money or other prizes. Slot machines are designed with variable reinforcement schedules, meaning that the payouts are random, and users can never predict when they will win.
- Trigger: The trigger is the user’s desire for excitement, entertainment, or the possibility of winning.
- Action: Users insert money into the slot machine or open a gambling app and start playing.
- Variable Reward: The variable reward is the unpredictable outcome. Users don’t know when they will win or how much they will win, which creates a sense of excitement and anticipation. The occasional big wins keep users hooked and coming back for more.
Social Media and Variable Rewards:
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter also make use of variable rewards:
- Trigger: Users are triggered to open the app when they receive notifications, experience boredom, or feel a desire for social connection.
- Action: The action is scrolling through the feed, liking posts, or posting updates.
- Variable Reward: The variable rewards come in the form of unpredictable social interactions. Users never know exactly what they’ll find in their feed. They might come across a funny video, an inspiring quote, or an engaging discussion. The unpredictability of these rewards keeps users scrolling and engaging with the platform.
Gamification and Points Systems:
Many apps and services employ gamification and points systems to create variable rewards:
- Trigger: Users are motivated to engage with the app or service to earn points, badges, or rewards.
- Action: Users perform specific actions within the app, such as completing tasks or achieving milestones.
- Variable Reward: The variable reward is the uncertainty of what users will receive when they earn points. For example, airline loyalty programs offer points that can be redeemed for various rewards, including flights, upgrades, or merchandise. The unpredictability of the rewards encourages users to continue engaging with the program.
In conclusion, Chapter 4 of “Hooked” underscores the importance of variable rewards in creating habit-forming products. By examining examples like slot machines, social media platforms, and gamified apps, we can see how the element of unpredictability can be harnessed to keep users engaged and coming back for more. Variable rewards leverage human psychology to create a sense of anticipation and excitement, reinforcing the habit loop and driving user engagement.
Chapter 5: Investment
Chapter 5 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is titled “Investment.” In this chapter, Eyal explores the fourth component of the Hook Model, which is the concept of investment. He explains how users become more engaged with a product or service when they invest something, such as time, effort, or data, into it.
Investment refers to the effort, time, resources, or personal data that users contribute to a product or service. It’s a crucial element in the Hook Model because it increases the likelihood that users will return to the product to gain value from their previous investments. Eyal explains that investments lead to an “endowed progress effect,” wherein users are more motivated to engage because they feel they’ve already made progress.
Case Study: Creating User Profiles – LinkedIn:
LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, provides a clear example of how investment can be harnessed:
- Trigger: Users might receive an email notification about a new connection request or a job posting relevant to their skills and interests.
- Action: Users visit their LinkedIn profiles, accept connection requests, update their work experience, or endorse skills of their connections.
- Variable Reward: The reward is the potential for professional networking and career opportunities. Importantly, users have invested time in creating and maintaining their profiles. This investment serves as a commitment to continue using LinkedIn, as they want to maximize the value from their profiles.
LinkedIn leverages this investment by encouraging users to regularly update their profiles, connect with more professionals, and endorse others. The more users invest in their profiles, the more they are motivated to continue using the platform.
Investment in Personal Data – Spotify:
Music streaming service Spotify encourages investment through personalization:
- Trigger: Users open the Spotify app to listen to music.
- Action: Users create playlists, follow artists, and like songs to tailor their music experience to their preferences.
- Variable Reward: The reward is a personalized music feed and playlists based on their listening history. Users have invested their time in curating their music preferences, making it more likely that they will return to Spotify to enjoy their customized playlists.
Case Study: Amazon Prime Membership – Amazon:
Amazon’s Prime membership program showcases the concept of investment through a financial commitment:
- Trigger: Users are prompted to join Amazon Prime through advertisements, emails, or recommendations when shopping on the platform.
- Action: Users subscribe to Amazon Prime by paying an annual fee.
- Variable Reward: The reward is access to benefits like free two-day shipping, streaming services, and exclusive deals. Users who have invested in their Prime membership are motivated to make the most of it by shopping frequently on Amazon to maximize the value of their investment.
In conclusion, Chapter 5 of “Hooked” emphasizes the importance of investment in creating habit-forming products and services. By examining examples from LinkedIn, Spotify, and Amazon, we can see how investments, whether in the form of time, personal data, or financial commitment, increase user engagement and reinforce the habit loop. Understanding how to encourage and leverage these investments is crucial for building products that users return to consistently.
Chapter 6: What Are You Going to Do with This?
Chapter 6 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is titled “What Are You Going to Do with This?” In this chapter, Eyal shifts his focus from theoretical concepts to practical strategies for applying the Hook Model to create habit-forming products. He outlines key steps for product designers and entrepreneurs to take in order to implement the model effectively.
Designing for Habit Formation:
Eyal emphasizes that designing habit-forming products requires a deep understanding of user psychology and behavior. He presents a four-step process for building habit-forming products: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment. Each of these steps should be carefully considered and optimized for the specific product or service.
Case Study: Fitbit – Creating Exercise Habits:
Fitbit, the fitness tracking device and app, provides an excellent example of designing for habit formation:
- Trigger: Fitbit uses external triggers in the form of reminders and notifications to prompt users to take action. For instance, users may receive a notification reminding them to meet their daily step goal.
- Action: The action is wearing the Fitbit device and engaging with the app by tracking exercise, setting goals, and monitoring progress.
- Variable Reward: Fitbit provides variable rewards in the form of badges and achievements for reaching fitness milestones. Users also experience intrinsic rewards, such as improved health and fitness, which are unpredictable and motivating.
- Investment: Users invest time and effort in tracking their fitness activities and setting goals within the app. This investment creates a sense of commitment and motivates them to continue using Fitbit to achieve their health and fitness objectives.
Fitbit’s design aligns with the principles outlined in Eyal’s book, particularly in terms of creating external triggers through notifications and leveraging variable rewards and investments to encourage regular use and habit formation.
Eyal also addresses the ethical implications of building habit-forming products. He stresses the importance of ethical design practices and the responsibility of product creators to consider the well-being of users. It is crucial to strike a balance between creating engaging experiences and ensuring that products do not lead to addiction or harm.
Case Study: Digital Well-Being Tools – Apple and Google:
Apple and Google have incorporated digital well-being features into their operating systems and devices, acknowledging the ethical concerns surrounding technology addiction:
- Trigger: Both Apple and Google have introduced features that allow users to set screen time limits and receive notifications about their device usage.
- Action: Users can take action by setting limits on specific apps or app categories to reduce screen time.
- Variable Reward: The reward is regaining control over one’s digital life and achieving a healthier balance between online and offline activities. Users may also experience improved mental well-being.
- Investment: Users invest time in configuring and maintaining these digital well-being settings. Their investment reflects a commitment to managing their digital habits responsibly.
In conclusion, Chapter 6 of “Hooked” offers practical guidance for implementing the Hook Model and designing habit-forming products ethically. By examining examples like Fitbit and digital well-being tools from Apple and Google, we can see how product designers can create experiences that align with user needs and values while also considering the ethical impact of their designs. This chapter reinforces the idea that building habit-forming products requires a thoughtful and user-centric approach.
Chapter 7: Case Study: The Bible App
Chapter 7 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is dedicated to a case study of the Bible App. This chapter provides a real-world example of how the principles outlined in earlier chapters, such as triggers, actions, variable rewards, and investments, were applied to create a habit-forming product. Let’s explore the case study of the Bible App to illustrate the key learnings from this chapter.
Introduction to the Bible App:
The Bible App, developed by Life.Church, is a digital platform that provides access to the Bible in multiple translations and languages. It also offers various features such as daily reading plans, audio versions, and community features for sharing and discussing scripture. The app’s goal is to make the Bible accessible and engaging for users, fostering a daily habit of Bible reading and reflection.
Triggers in the Bible App:
- External Triggers: The Bible App employs external triggers to prompt users to engage with the app. For example, users receive notifications reminding them to read their daily Bible verses or complete their reading plans. These notifications act as external triggers, encouraging users to open the app and take action.
- Internal Triggers: Internal triggers are also prevalent in the context of the Bible App. Users may experience internal triggers when they seek inspiration, guidance, or a sense of spiritual connection. When faced with life challenges or moments of reflection, users may turn to the Bible App to find comfort and wisdom.
Actions in the Bible App:
- Reading Plans: One of the core actions in the Bible App is the completion of reading plans. Users select reading plans based on their interests or spiritual goals and commit to daily reading.
- Highlighting and Note-Taking: Users can interact with the text by highlighting verses and taking notes. This action promotes engagement and personal reflection.
Variable Rewards in the Bible App:
- Spiritual Growth: The primary variable reward for users of the Bible App is spiritual growth and personal fulfillment. Users experience variable rewards as they encounter scripture that speaks to their current life circumstances.
- Community Engagement: The app fosters community engagement through features like sharing highlighted verses, notes, and reflections with friends or followers. The variable reward here is the sense of connection and shared spirituality.
Investments in the Bible App:
- Data and Personalization: Users invest their time and effort in customizing their Bible App experience. They select reading plans, highlight verses, and take notes, creating a personalized experience tailored to their spiritual journey.
- Community Engagement: Users who engage with the community features invest in building connections and relationships with others who share their faith. These investments further solidify their commitment to the app.
Ethical Considerations in the Bible App:
The case study of the Bible App also highlights ethical considerations. While the app aims to foster a positive habit of Bible reading and spiritual growth, it must be used responsibly and not exploit users’ vulnerability or religious beliefs.
In conclusion, the case study of the Bible App in Chapter 7 of “Hooked” illustrates how the principles of the Hook Model can be applied to create habit-forming products in a thoughtful and ethical manner. By examining the app’s use of triggers, actions, variable rewards, and investments, we can gain insights into how a product can successfully engage users and become an integral part of their daily lives, in this case, for the purpose of spiritual growth and reflection. This case study underscores the importance of aligning product design with user needs and values while considering the ethical implications of habit formation.
Chapter 8: Habit Testing and Where to Look for Habit-Forming Opportunities
Chapter 8 of Nir Eyal’s book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” is titled “Habit Testing and Where to Look for Habit-Forming Opportunities.” This chapter delves into the practical aspects of identifying opportunities for creating habit-forming products and how to test and refine these ideas. Eyal provides valuable insights and strategies for entrepreneurs and product designers to discover and develop products that have the potential to become integral to users’ daily routines.
Identifying Habit-Forming Opportunities:
Eyal emphasizes that finding habit-forming opportunities begins with understanding users’ existing habits and behaviors. By identifying areas where users already exhibit repetitive behaviors, product designers can create solutions that seamlessly integrate into users’ lives. Here are examples of how this concept can be applied:
Case Study: Starbucks Mobile App – Capitalizing on Coffee Habits:
- Understanding Existing Habits: Starbucks recognized that coffee consumption is a daily habit for many people. People visit coffee shops regularly, and the process of ordering coffee can be streamlined and enhanced through a mobile app.
- Trigger: Starbucks’ mobile app uses external triggers in the form of promotions, personalized offers, and order-ahead features to prompt users to engage with the app.
- Action: Users place coffee orders and make payments through the app, simplifying the process and saving time.
- Variable Reward: The reward is the convenience of a quick and personalized coffee order. Users also receive rewards and loyalty points for their purchases, adding a variable reward element.
- Investment: Users invest time in setting up their preferences, adding payment methods, and earning loyalty rewards. This investment encourages them to continue using the app for their daily coffee needs.
The Starbucks mobile app successfully identified an existing habit and created a solution that integrated seamlessly, making it easier for users to fulfill their coffee ritual.
Testing Habit-Forming Products:
Eyal introduces the concept of “Habit Testing,” which involves developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to test the potential habit-forming aspects of a product idea. Habit testing allows for iterative refinement based on user feedback and behavior.
Case Study: Twitter’s Early Testing and Iteration:
In Twitter’s early stages, the company habit-tested various features and designs to refine its product. One notable experiment was changing the default landing page for new users:
- Habit Test: Twitter initially directed new users to their timeline, which was filled with tweets from other users. However, they conducted a habit test where new users were directed to an empty timeline with prompts to follow others and complete their profile.
- Result: This simple change increased user engagement significantly. Users who followed others and added information to their profiles were more likely to return to the platform regularly.
Twitter’s habit testing allowed them to identify a design change that significantly improved user retention and engagement.
Ethical Considerations and Responsibility:
Throughout the chapter, Eyal underscores the ethical responsibility of product designers and entrepreneurs. Building habit-forming products should be done with careful consideration of the potential consequences and impact on users’ lives.
Case Study: Social Media Platforms and Ethical Design:
Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have faced scrutiny regarding their impact on users’ mental health and well-being. Ethical design considerations include implementing features like screen time tracking, well-being notifications, and content filters to help users manage their digital consumption responsibly.
In conclusion, Chapter 8 of “Hooked” provides valuable insights into the practical aspects of identifying, testing, and refining habit-forming product opportunities. By examining examples like the Starbucks mobile app, Twitter’s early testing, and ethical design considerations for social media platforms, we can see how habit-forming products can be developed responsibly and with a focus on enhancing users’ lives. This chapter reinforces the idea that the process of creating habit-forming products requires a user-centric approach, ongoing testing, and a strong commitment to ethical design principles.
If you’re interested in books similar to “Hooked” by Nir Eyal, which explore the psychology of habit formation, behavioral economics, and the design of habit-forming products, you might find the following books to be valuable:
- “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear: This book delves into the science of habit formation and offers practical strategies for building positive habits and breaking negative ones.
- “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein: Thaler and Sunstein explore how small changes in decision-making environments, or “nudges,” can influence behavior and encourage better choices.
- “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini: This classic book explores the principles of persuasion and how they can be applied in marketing, advertising, and everyday life.
- “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman: Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman explains the two systems of thinking (fast and slow) and how they influence decision-making, including the formation of habits.
- “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg: Duhigg explores the science of habit formation and provides real-world examples of how habits influence individual lives and organizations.
- “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” by Dan Ariely: Ariely delves into the quirks of human behavior and decision-making, revealing how irrationality can be predicted and harnessed.
- “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink: Pink explores the science of motivation and how autonomy, mastery, and purpose can drive behavior.
- “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell: Gladwell examines the power of intuition and rapid decision-making, shedding light on how habits and instincts influence our choices.
- “Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less” by S.J. Scott: This book offers a practical approach to building positive habits by stacking them onto existing routines.
- “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life” by Gretchen Rubin: Rubin explores the strategies and frameworks for changing habits to lead a more fulfilling life.