How to Build Habit-Forming Products | Nir Eyal | Skillshare

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How to Build Habit-Forming Products

teacher avatar Nir Eyal, Entrepreneur, Author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (2h 7m)
    • 1. Habit-forming technology patterns

    • 2. What does it take to form a habit?

    • 3. Finding internal triggers and placing external triggers

    • 4. Designing the simplest action in anticipation of reward

    • 5. Leaving them wanting more

    • 6. Increase the likelihood of using the product again

    • 7. What are you going to do with this knowledge?

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About This Class

In an age of ever-increasing distractions, quickly creating customer habits is an important characteristic of successful products. How do companies create products people use every day? What are the secrets of building services customers love? How can designers create products compelling enough to "hook" users?

Nir Eyal, author of "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" shows you how. Nir is a two-time Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has taught the "Using Neuroscience to Influence Human Behavior" course as a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His writing has appeared on TechCrunch, Forbes, Psychology Today and his blog,

In this course, Nir shares a framework for designing habit-forming products called "the Hook Model." The framework gives entrepreneurs and product designers a new way for thinking of the necessary components of influencing user behavior. Nir will share the tactics companies like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter use to drive repeat engagement.

Companies need to know how to harness the power of hooks to improve peoples’ lives. This workshop will provide attendees with a powerful toolkit and framework for creating better products and likely change the way they see the world.

What do you get from this course? 

  • Over 7 lectures and 2 hours of content!
  • Participants will learn the common design patterns of habit-forming products.
  • Understand the stages of habit formation and how to optimize for user retention.
  • In-depth look at the psychology behind what drives user behavior and how to build products to cater to core human needs.
  • Practical steps for leading a habit design process to ensure your product is used regularly.

What is the target audience? 

  • This class is for anyone seeking to understand habit-forming product design. No previous background is required. The workshop is tailored to entrepreneurs, product managers, or designers working in companies large or small. Attendees are encouraged to come to the workshop with a product or business idea in mind.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nir Eyal

Entrepreneur, Author


Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. He is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

Nir is also an advisor to several Bay Area start-ups , venture capitalists, and incubators. Nir's last company received venture funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and was acquired in 2011. In addition to blogging, Nir is a contributing writer for Forbes, TechCrunch, andPsychology Today.

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1. Habit-forming technology patterns: Hello and welcome to Hooked. My name is Nir Eyal. In this online course, I will be sharing with you techniques for building habit-forming technologies. In this first session, we'll dive right in by exploring the world of habit-forming technology and what habit-forming technology can help our users do, and why it's good for our business. One thing we know about the products and services that we use and particularly the technologies we use, is that technologies are able to profoundly change our behavior. When I work with companies, be them in my consulting practice or companies I might meet when I'm out speaking and working with different folks. I often hear them comparing themselves to these best of breed companies. The companies that we're all familiar with that have profoundly changed our day-to-day lives, and our routines, and habits. These companies tend to have a common pattern. They all seem to start as toys, as features of perhaps a different product, and they're universally underestimated. Some companies that may come to mind that may meet this definition are companies like Facebook, or Pinterest, or Instagram, or Snapchat. These companies that have profoundly impacted our lives and in the blink of an eye, are attracting hundreds of millions of users, and many of them making hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. These companies are what we'll be studying, these companies that profoundly change our habits and our day-to-day behaviors. What I've done over the past several years is to look for patterns, to look for what is it about these products that can fundamentally change our behaviors and what's common to those products? What do we see time and time again? I started out in my exploration of habit-forming technologies by asking a question that I was asked time and time again when I was running my last company, is your product of vitamin or pain killer? This is a great question that investors, whether it's investors in the external sense, for example an outside investor like a venture capitalist perhaps might ask you, or even if you're working inside a larger organization, people within your company might ask you if your idea is a vitamin or painkiller, because people want to invest in painkillers. Painkillers address a burning need, they stop the user's pain, they have quantifiable markets, they address a clear need, and investors want to hear that your product is addressing a pain killer as opposed to a vitamin. Vitamin is a nice to have. We don't really know if that vitamin we take every morning is actually doing its job but it feels good knowing that we're doing something for our health. Here's the question I started with, and I'm a little confused here maybe perhaps you are too, what are the products that we identified earlier that fundamentally change user habits are in fact a vitamins or painkillers. The Pinterest, and Twitters, and Instagrams, and Facebooks, these products, what are they? Think for a minute in your mind what you would classify these products as, are the vitamins or are they painkillers? Before you make up your mind let me pause it this thought, that a habit is when not doing something causes you a bit of pain. Because what we find is endemic to habit-forming technologies, is that they start as pleasure seeking behaviors, they start as things we want to do, and then they become pain alleviators over time. Through successive use, they form habits and they create pain alleviating behaviors. We use these products out of compulsion. Let's be very clear about what I mean by pain. We're not causing our users paining, in fact quite the opposite. What I'd like to demonstrate for you, is what kind of pain I'm referring to exactly. What I'd like you to do for a moment, is to close your eyes, right there at your screen, go ahead and close your eyes and indulge me in a little mind experiment here. What I want you to do, is to think for a moment with your eyes closed about a message that you have just received. In whatever medium it is, that important people use to reach you. Now maybe it's an email, maybe it's an SMS, maybe it's a Facebook message, whatever medium it is that you use when someone important in your life needs to reach you. Now I want you to bring awareness to your body right now. How are you feeling? What does your gut feel like? I want you to bring awareness to that feeling and now open your eyes, and ask yourself for a minute, how did you feel? I've done this presentation for crowds of hundreds of people, and across the board, the number 1 response that I get from this exercise is someone saying anxious. Anxiety is probably the most common response. I also hear some people saying stressed, I hear some people saying like I want to check it. There's all kinds of different responses but what you likely felt, is what I call the itch. It's a physiological response to a psychological stimulus. There was no message of course, I just made it up, and yet what you likely experienced was your body physically changing in response to that stimulus, that's the itch. What you likely felt was a response similar to what a group of women felt when they observed chocolate in experiment conducted back in 2005. In this experiment, women who were self-described chocolate cravers, were shown images of delicious chocolate. What's interesting about this study is that the women ascribed the positive feelings they had to the chocolate itself. Yet, these women who were self-described chocolate cravers remember, they were people who said that they loved chocolate and they crave chocolate quite a bit, also ascribed some unusual aspects to their encounter with images of chocolate. They described stress, they described a loss of control, they described a very similar feeling as to that itch, this wanting reflex, but they described that response to themselves. Even though the chocolate had triggered both the pleasure and the stress responses. Because what we find time and time again when it comes to the products that we use every day, is that they're built through associations. Our brain is looking for solutions to whatever problems it encounters. When we feel that itch I described earlier or that sensation that the chocolate craving women felt, our brain looks for reliable solutions. Our users when they're using different technologies, they come seeking pleasure, they come seeking a reward for example. But that product soon becomes an important part of their life with repetitive use. Why? Because when they feel that itch, they seek to scratch it, and so how we respond to our itch, how we respond to that pain response of needing something, determines our habits. These aren't just technology habits. All the habits we have in our day-to-day lives, how we learn new behaviors, is by responding to these cues. We seek a solution to our discomfort found in the product's use. One thing that's important to know about how we form new behaviors, is that we know that stress is a precondition for addiction, and habits are very close to addictions. I want to spend just a little time talking about what exactly is this stress response that we find is a precondition for addictions. In a study conducted back in 2007, researchers found that when they gave mice a CRF antagonist, which is a substance that blocks the stress response, they could not turn these lab mice into mice that were dependent on this chemical, alcohol. They reversed the experiment, they tried to do the opposite where they took mice who had previously been addicted to alcohol. When they tried to reverse the experiment by giving them a CRF antagonist, they found that they lost almost immediately their alcohol dependency. What this study showed, is that the stress response, that itch we described earlier, is in fact a precondition for addiction. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves in terms of what addiction is, let me just say that what this course is not about is addiction. We do not want to create addictions in our users. That's because addictions are persistent compulsion or dependency on a behavior or substance and addictions are always bad. By definitions, addictions are self-defeating behaviors. Now, why do I bring up addiction? That's clearly not what we want to do with our products, we don't want to harm people obviously. I bring up addictions because it turns out that the same processes that form addictions also help us learn how to create something that can be used for good purposes or bad purposes, and that is habit. A habit is simply a behavior done with little or no conscious thought. As I mentioned, habits can be good or bad. We have good habits and bad habits. The purpose of why I'm teaching this course, is that I believe that we are entering an age where habits can be used for good. There's an explosion of companies and innovations coming out, which are dependent upon helping people live healthier, happier, more connected, richer lives by creating healthy habits. That's what this course is going to be about. I'm going to help you learn how to create those healthy habits in your users. If you have a product that requires user engagement, that requires users interacting with your product regularly and habitually, this course is for you. In the next section, we're going to go further into depth onto how to actually create those habits. 2. What does it take to form a habit?: Hello, welcome back to the next session of Hooked, how to build habit-forming technologies. In this session we're going to talk about what's required to build a habit, and why these habits are so good for our bottom line. It turns out there's actually only two things that matter when forming a habit. There was a great study done in 2013, at Oxford, that learned that there was actually really only two things that mattered when it came to forming a habit. In this study they measured who stuck with the habit of flossing. Turns out that most people do not floss, so they had already pool of people to try and create this habit in, and they found that there was all kinds of common knowledge, so to speak, that turned out to be wrong about habit formation. Some people say that you have to do a habit for 29 days, or whatever might be. Turned out that it's not true, that there's actually only two things that we really need in order to form a habit. Number one was frequency. That this study found that the people who flossed more often, were the ones who stuck with the habit. Those are the ones who continued for the longest period of time, those that continued frequently to do that behavior. The second requirement to form a habit was attitude change. That this study found that people who perceived the behavior differently, who saw flossing as something other than how they had originally perceived it, we're the ones who could continue to do that habit over the long term. For example, the people who thought to themselves, "I don't really want to floss because that's my dentist job," but then later in the study, began to be the people who said to themselves, "Well, it just feels weird to go to bed without flossing, it's something that I just do every day, " those were the people who could sustain that new behavior. They had to have some attitude change, and we'll discuss that later in the coarse as well. Now, we know we talked about in the last section about how habits can be good for our users, how there's an explosion of companies today that are attempting two build habit-forming technologies, to help people live healthier, happier, richer lives. Now, what I want to talk about for just a minute is why habits matter to our business? Why are habits something that can benefit the bottom-line? Number one, habits help create higher lifetime value. If a customer uses our product for a longer period of time, then suffice it to say, they're also adding to our bottom line every month. They're paying for this service, we're making more money off of there use, and so that customer has a higher lifetime value for the company. Second, that we have greater pricing flexibility if the customer forms a habit. When a user depends upon a product, it becomes part of their normal routine, we have greater flexibility in changing our pricing structure, and so therefore, the company can also become more profitable. This is an important one when it comes to growth, it turns out that habits are a very important part of growth. The past several years there's been an obsession with virality, at least where I live in Silicon Valley, every company wants to find ways to go viral. Well, it turns out that without engagement, virality is not good enough. Growth without engagement, is what we call a leaky bucket business. Customers come in, customers go out, unless we have engagement, unless customers continue to use the product over the long term, then growth doesn't really matter. It turns out that more important than just virality itself, is viral cycle time, and it turns out that if we can get people to use the product more frequently, we can lower the amount of time between, how long it takes them to tell their friends and colleagues about the product. If users use a product more frequently, they will inevitably tell others about it more frequently, if the product is built to be viral, of course. Growth is necessary but not sufficient, and virality might be won tool to grow. But the more customers use a product, the faster are chances of super charging growth. Next, when it comes to defensibility. If a customer comes to rely upon a product, if it becomes part of their daily routine, their daily habits, it's very difficult for a competitor to come in and take that customer away. The more customers invest in a product, the more it becomes part of their day-to-day routine, it increases the defensibility of the product. Habits are great for our customers, they're great for our bottom line, however, it's very hard to form new habits. It takes a lot of work to form new customer habits, and finding a technology that can create a new habit is exceptionally rare, it's not that easy. What I want to tell you about in this course is, if your product requires habits, and it's worth pausing for just a minute to think about that question, if your business model does actually require habits, because plenty of businesses don't require habits, and to be more precise, what this course is really about is unprompted user engagement, which is the act of a customer, or a user interacting with your product without really thinking about it. This is the definition of a habit, "Behavior done with little or no conscious thought. That's unprompted user engagement." Taking out your phone and checking email without even thinking that you're doing it, or opening up Facebook or Twitter without really consciously deliberating, why am I doing this particular action. We should be very clear, not every business model requires habits. Plenty of businesses can bring customers to their product in lots of different ways. They can use advertising, they can use word-of-mouth, they can use physical store fronts, there's lots of ways to bring customers to your product without necessarily having to form a habit. But if your business model requires unprompted user engagement, just as those companies we talked about in the first session, Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, all of these products require unprompted user engagement that require habits. Then what I'm going to share with you in the context of this course, is a design pattern to help you form better product hypotheses. Now, what do I mean by that? Now, many of you will be familiar with the lean startup methodologies, which basically says that we should iterate quickly to reduce waste so that we don't want to build things that nobody wants, so we want to spend our time building things that our customers want and will use. What this course is about? Is about helping you come up with these hypothesis for what you should build because let's face it, the three parts of the lean startup methodology is build, measure, learn if you've never read Eric Reese's work that highly recommend it. He's distilled about 50 years of thinking in the field of how to reduce waste in manufacturing and applied it to the startup context and these three major steps of building something, measuring its effectiveness so that we can validate our learning about the customer and then continuing with that cycle. Of those three steps the most expensive part, the part with the blood, and sweat, and tears, and money all go is in the building phase. Building is extremely expensive and so what I want to do for you in the context of this course is to help you generate new hypothesis for what you should build. Today, the status quo for what you should build in your product tends to be either a founder's hunch or if they're a little bit more advanced and they can talk to their customers, sometimes you'll hear companies building based on customer feedback and what customers are able to articulate, which it turns out is not that much. A lot of times people don't known what they want or worst-case, a lot of times I seen companies where what is built is what the highest paid person in the room says that should be built. Somebody just dictate this is what we should build and he's not really informed by what customers want, and so what I hope to give you in the context of this course is a new way to form hypothesis for what you should build. That context for what you should build, I propose should come from consumer psychology, should come from how people think, how they behave, and what they want even when they're not able to tell you what they want. Why do we do this? Why do we want to form better high product hypothesis? So we can increase your odds of success. The difference between success and failure is building the right stuff, is building stuff that people want to use. If you can spend less time building the wrong stuff and more time building things that people really want, you will increase your odds of success and so this pattern, that I'm going to share with you in the context of this course will help you generate these better product hypothesis. I can't give you the answer for what's going to make your company the next Facebook or Twitter and there's lots of things that are involved in a company success. Not only is their engagement, which is what we're going to talk about, we also have to figure out growth and you have to also figure out moderation. But when it comes to that one topic of engagement, this is the pattern that I'm going to share with you on how to create habits with your users. The model that we're going to talk about for the rest of this course is the Hook Model, which is a model that I've developed to help you form better product hypothesis. Very simply put the Hook is an experience designed to connect the user's problem, with your solution, with enough frequency to form a habit. There's that word frequency again. Again, the Hook Model is a pattern, is an experience designed to connect your user's problem with your solution with enough frequency to form a habit. Now, we're going to take a pause in the course and I want you to do a little bit of homework here, this is how you're going to get the most out of this online course is to listen to some of these sessions, absorb the context of the discussion and then actually the workshop your business. I hope you've come to the course with at least an idea that you'd like to explore for habit-forming technology. Take a few minutes before you move on to the next session and ask yourselves, this is something that I would recommend you could do with another person, or perhaps couple of people if you work on a product team and take just five minutes to first and describe your business, you might be able to work with a friend or a colleague, doesn't have to necessarily be somebody you work with day to day and ask yourself, why does your business model require habits? The reason I ask that you work with another person is that it turns out that when we sit and we think to ourselves in our own heads, we can create what's called a reality distortion field. We can convince ourselves of things that until we verbalize, until we got check with other people, steer us on the wrong path. I'd recommend getting together with a couple of people describing the business you want to form a habit around and think to yourself, why does it require habits? Because remember, not every business model does. Then what I want you to do for about 10 minutes is to ask yourself these questions. What problems our users coming to solve with your product? Then, how do they currently solve that problem and why does it need a new solution? We'll talk about a little later on in the course how important it is to build products that cater to existing behaviors and so it's very important that you can come up with how customers currently solved this problem and why it needs a new solution. Next, there is frequency question. Remember the two criteria are forming a habit, the first one being that the behavior occurs frequently. I want you to ask yourself, how frequently would you expect users to engage with your product? This is just an estimate, you're not going to have a great number just yet but I want you to get check with yourself when your product is out there, when is built, when it's formed that habit, how frequently would you expect users to engage? The criteria here is that a lot of the research that we found around habit formation is that if the behavior occurs less frequently in the span of about a week, it's very hard to form new habits, not impossible, there are products that do it, but it turns out to be very difficult to do. That we really want to find a way to engage our users in a span of a week's time or less and so if your product doesn't have that, if you have a product that's used a couple times a month or I hope it's not the case but if it's a once a year, you may not have high potential of forming a customer habit. You may want to figure out how else can you get the user to check in to engage more frequently about the span of once a week, of course more is better. Have you think about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, these products are used not once a week, not once a day, but multiple times per day, those are the most habit-forming products. Then finally, what's the action that you want to make into a habit? What's the thing that you want the users to do without conscious thought, just doing day in and day out with your product, what's that singular action that you want to make into a habit? After you do those activities, we're going to build upon those in the next exercise in the next section. 3. Finding internal triggers and placing external triggers: Welcome back to this third session of hook a guide to building habit forming technology. In the last section, I introduced the hook model, which is an experience designed to connect your user's problem to your solution with enough frequency to form a habit. For the remainder of this course, we're going to dive into these four phases of the hook model, beginning with a trigger in the upper left, down to the action in the lower right, through the reward phase at the upper right, and then down to investment, and then continuing its intentional made to look like an infinite loop hear. Because that's the intention, is through cycles, through the hook model, we begin to form associations and mental patterns that form our habits. Now, as a reminder, habits are behaviors that occur with little or no conscious thought, and as we dive into this model of how habits are formed, will be looking at how to form product hypotheses in each phase of the hook model. Idea is for how you can generate better triggers, how you can improve your action phase, how you can improve rewards, and finally the critical step of an investment in your product. Just a quick acronym to help you as we continue through the course. I like to use ATARI for those of you who like me grew up playing ATARI as a kid. This was one of the first video gaming consoles, and I just use this as an acronym for a hook has four parts, the T stands for trigger, A is for Action, R is for reward, and I is investments. So that you can take that with you as you design products throughout your career, you'll be able to ask yourself, "Hey, does this product have a high habit-forming potential? Can I find the trigger action reward and investment?" Let's get started and take a deep dive into the first step of the hook, the triggers phase. The thing that is most important to realize when it comes to building habit-forming technologies, is that behaviors and habits aren't created. I'm sorry to inform you, you can't just will a habit or behavior to occur out of thin heir. Habits are built upon, very much like the layers of a pearl. The way a pearl formed inside an oyster is there's an irritant inside the oyster that causes the oyster to deposit a substance called mother of pearl, layer upon layer, so that if you were to cut into a cross-section of a pearl you'd actually seen that it has rings, like the rings of a tree. This is a great metaphor for how habits get built upon, that nothing that we do habitually is created for us, it was all learned through associations, through triggers. Now, these triggers are going to be the basis for our discussion this session and they come in two forms. The basis for new behaviors comes from these triggers. The function of these triggers is to tell us what to do next, to inform the next action that you want your user to do as part of their habit. Now, these triggers come in two types, two flavors if you will, we have external triggers and internal triggers. Now let's dive into external triggers first, internal or external triggers you may be very familiar with. External triggers are things like billboards, calls to actions, buttons that tell you what to do like buy now or click here, an email button, things that most importantly are defined as where the information for what to do next is within the trigger itself, that's an external trigger where the information for what to do next is contained within the trigger itself. You're probably very familiar with external triggers, they're all over the world around us, things like an authority figure, a police officer, or somebody that tells us what to do next can be an external trigger. Word of mouth marketing, so a friend telling you, "Hey, try this great app", would be an external trigger. Of course, the hundreds of emails that we get that tell us what to do next, like click here, or play now, or do this thing, do this next intended action. Really, the hole field of optimizing external triggers is enjoying a bit of a renaissance write now and people call this growth hacking. Growth hacking is really about finding channels that can drive growth for your product, that can bring users to use your product by optimizing external triggers. Finding new opportunities to use external triggers to grow your user base. Now, plenty of product designers know a lot about external triggers. We all have lots of practice, or getting lots of practices for how to optimize external triggers, but what I found a lot of product designers and entrepreneurs are not as familiar with is internal triggers. Internal triggers are where the information for what to do next is informed through an association in the user's memory. Things like people and places and routines and situations, and most importantly emotions, provide us the context for what to do next through an association, through a memory that we have formed with that trigger. In particular, it turns out that emotions, and to be more specific, negative emotions provide a powerful internal trigger. What we do when we feel lonesome, or bored, or fatigued, or lost, or discouraged, how we respond to these negative emotions plays a very large roll in the habits we form. Why is that? Well, we remember in the first session how we talked about how products that form habits start as pleasure seeking behaviors and become pane alleviate. Well, it turns out that these emotions, these negative emotions don't feel good. We don't like the sensation, the itch, so to speak, that's created by these negative emotions, and so these provide internal triggers for action. We know that some of the evidence for this to be true is that we know that people with depression check email more often. That in a study done in 2012, they took college students and they tracked their internet usage and how they used there machines, and they found that people that the students who later showed signs of pre-clinical depression literally used their machines differently, they use the web differently, and then checked email more frequently. Now, why would that be? Why would people with signs of clinical depression use the internet differently? Well, it turns out that people with clinical depression have what psychologists call negative valence states more frequently, they experience a sensation of feeling down more often. Therefore, what they did to boost their mood to get out of that negative valence state was to use technology, use email, they downloaded video more frequently, they would chat more frequently, they were turning to technology to boost their mood. Now, if you think about this in your own life, what do many of us use when we feel lonely? What's a great technology to solve that, that pain point, that itch of loneliness? Well, many people hope on to Facebook. What about one more unsure about pretty much anything and as opposed to actually thinking if we know the answer, why don't we go ahead and google it? When we're bored, maybe in the afternoon when we're at work and we'd rather not be working on that important project, we should be working on a great place than many of us turn to is YouTube. Of course, there's lots and lots of different technologies that cater to this internal trigger of boredom, boredom does not feel good. If you think about products like pinterest, or glam, or the news, how many people are news junkies? We even assign an addiction terminology to people who check the news a lot, we call them news junkies, and they're all about alleviating this itch of boredom. Boredom is a negative valence state, it doesn't feel good, and so we seek to get out of that state with some technology. What do we do with this? How do we build products to cater to these internal triggers? Well, we can't cater to an itch unless we understand it. We have to know our customers internal trigger, we have to understand what it is that they're coming to our product for, what itch are they coming to scratch by using our product. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square, provides some insights into how to discover your customers internal trigger. What Jack does and what he feels is a very important part of building a successful product is to understand the narrative. He says that, if you want to build a product that is relevant to folks, you need to put yourself in their shoes and need to write a story from their side. Jack takes this practice quite seriously, he's given several talks on the topic, and he talks about how the narrative, the story of how the product is used and why it's used, is something that his entire organization understands. He literally builds out a play, so to speak, of how the customer might interact with his products. He talks about how everyone in the company, from engineering to the designers, to marketing, to the business folks, everyone understands these user narratives. Why? They understand what they're building the product for, what's the itch that it's scratching, how will it be used and how it satisfy the customers needs. In fact, there are big problems that occur when we don't really understand our customers internal triggers. If we don't understand the emotional side of why they use our products, it's very difficult for them to form habits with our products. One great example of a product where the designers missed on finding the right internal trigger, gets back weigh back to the 1950s when Betty Crocker in 1952 introduce instant cake mix. Now Betty Crocker at this time had just come off of the resounding success of Bisquick, Bisquick was instant pancake mix, it's still around today, and it's as easy to make as adding water. You add water to the powdered eggs and flower and all the powdered ingredients that are contained in the mix, and in a few minutes you alleviate the internal trigger of hunger by creating a quick meal. The executives of Betty Crocker assumed that customer wanted this convenience when it came to making cake, that they just wanted to add water and then instantly they would have cake, and the technology was there to allow them to do that. Well, it turned out that instant cake mix was a big failure. It was a disaster, nobody bought it. Why is that? Let's think back to why our customers might make cake. Why do we make cake? What's the purpose? What's the internal trigger for making cake? Is it the same as making pancakes? Well, it turns out isn't exactly that we make cake for a very different purpose from why we make, say, a functional food. That the habit of making cake for special occasions is around giving and receiving love to the people we care about. It turned out for their demographic of the customer that they were catering to, Instant didn't cut it. Instant was not what their customers wanted the product for. It wasn't about satiating hunger immediately, it was about giving and receiving love to the people that we care about. So they went back to the drawing boarded after discovering all this and they literally deprecated the product. They changed a key feature of the product to make it cater to the customers internal trigger, and they did this by adding x. Until this very day, when you bought Instant cake mix, it no longer has powdered eggs in it. Today you have to add, unlike back in 1952 when Betty Crocker released Instant cake mix, all you had to do was add water. Today you have to add water as well as eggs, and sometimes you have to add milk in some recipes. They did that because they found by deprecating a feature, by making the product actually a little bit more difficult to use, it actually satisfy the customers needs of giving and receiving love that Instant didn't properly address. Only buy understanding truly why our users use the product, what's the internal trigger, what's the itch they're coming to satisfy, can we build our product appropriately. This isn't just a marketing veneer that we put on top of a product. It isn't just about the weigh we talk about it or pitch the product, it's literally how we build the product itself. It's around how the product is design must cater to that internal trigger. Let's take a quick look at Instagram. Highly successful company sold to Facebook a few years ago now for a $1 billion with a team of only 13 people, and apparently, rumors are that that was a great acquisition price that Instagram turns out to bee even more valuable than the billion dollar that Facebook paid for it. Well, what made it so habit-forming? I think Instagram did a lot of things, among the many things that they did right, was that they really understood customer triggers. If you think about, what is it about Instagram and how they develop their user triggers, their in external triggers were very effective. The first time most people herd about Instagram, they found Instagram through various channels like Facebook and Twitter, where there was an external trigger to use the product, to follow a link to get your own Instagram. Instagram however, did much more than just grow through external triggers, it attached itself to an internal trigger. Now that internal trigger is very interesting. The internal trigger that Instagram attached to is that it's solves this paint point of losing the moment, that when you see a moment in time that you want to capture, let's say it's a beautiful scene or a group of friends are out for dinner or delicious plate of food. It's about capturing and holding that moment and the thought of losing it forever, it's just a little bit painful. It's just a little bit of enough of an itch to get the user to want to satiate that itch, and once an association is created, that capturing the moment is something you do with Instagram. The association is formed, the habit is formed. This by the way, is something that 20-30 years ago, another company owned this moment, of course I'm speaking about Kodak. Kodak spent about a 100 years and billions of dollars teaching people that when you seen these moments in your life, you capture them with Kodak, the Kodak moment, and they use advertising to teach folks about this time in their life when they wanted people to associate their product with a moment in time. Of course, Instagram captured that moment by having users teach other users when to use the product. Now, the more you use Instagram, you figured out that it actually wasn't just about capturing the moment. It wasn't just about satiating that itch of holding on and preserving, there were other internal triggers because Instagram is not only a way to capture photos, it's also a social network. People use it when they're feeling lonely, or stressed, or bored, or curious, or FOMO, fear of missing out, that fear doesn't feel good. When we have a fear of missing out, or loneliness, or these other internal triggers, Instagram is where we turn, but we only teach the users, we only teach ourselves if we happen to be a user, that the product is good for that, for those internal triggers for scratching these itches by using it. By continually using the product, we learned that it's good for other purposes, and so this is how Instagram really tied itself, how it created associations with a very clear moment in time whenever the user felt these negative valence dates, whenever they experienced these internal triggers, Instagram was the solution. Now there's lots of other things that Instagram did right, but I think in particular, they helped users attach an internal trigger to their product. They captured that moment in time. Now it's your turn, here's a few activities I'd like you to do. Again, these activities are ideally done with someone else. You can talk these out and written them down or type them out, but you can of course, do them by yourself as well. The first activity I'd like you do, for just about five minutes or so is to build your narrative, and there's lots of tools out there on how to build a narrative, but the basic crux of building any narrative is to understand who is the user and what are they doing right before your intended habit. In the last exercise, you should have identified what that key habit is that you want to create, and now your job is to understand what is the user doing just before that intended behavior, what's going on in there lives? Where are they? What's the context? What are they doing right before that intended behavior? Create yourself a little narrative here and we'll be referring to it later on in the course. Then what I want you to do is to start coming up with sum hypotheses. If you'll remember, in the first session, we talked about how the purpose of this course is to help you come up with better hypotheses, to help you understand what you can build for your customer so that you build less of the wrong thing and more of the right thing. I want you to start generating some hypotheses, what could be the internal trigger that you attach to? What could be an emotion, a routine, a situation? Now, these pane points are not things that we're creating, they're already existing in the user's life. What I want you to do for your product idea is to come up with three potential hypotheses that you might want to attach to and three internal trigger hypotheses that is. Then after you come up with those three, I want you to pick one and base it based on what internal trigger does your user experience most frequently? We talked about frequency earlier on in an earlier session and how important that is in forming new user habits. Then after you pick that internal trigger that occurs most frequently, create this short narrative hear that every time the user blanks, every time they feel bored, every time they feel insecure, every time they, whatever that internal trigger might be, the emotion, the routine, the situation, the user blanks. Every time the user seeks to capture a moment, the user opens Instagram. Every time the user feels insecure about the finances, they open, whatever that might be, whatever you're creating your habit around. Every time the user feels lonely, they open Facebook. That's a kind of narrative I want you to create. Then I want you to think about external triggers. Internal triggers are the emotion, the routine, the situation that the user attaches an association to that brings them to use the product unprompted. Now I want you to think about how to actually prompt the user with something that tells the user what to do next. That's the definition of the external trigger, so before we can form an association with an internal trigger, we have to bring the user to use the product with an external trigger. The goal here is to attach the external trigger as close to the internal trigger as possible. By that, I mean, when the user feels bored, when they feel lonely, when they feel lost, whatever it is that they feel that you're attaching to through the internal trigger, how can you place an external trigger at that moment in time? Ask yourself where and when can you insert your external trigger? How can you be in front of the user when their internal trigger fires? When they feel that emotion there in that routine, how can you be in their point of view? How can you be in their line of site giving them some direction to use the product? Ask yourself, what would be the ideal right time and right place? Then finally, I want you to think of three rational ideas. Using today's current technology, how might you be in front of the user at exactly the right time and place? Could it be a push notification, an e-mail and SMS text? Those are rational ideas, things that you could do today. Then I want you to brainstorm some crazy ideas. I want you to think of things that are not possible with today's technology, but perhaps might be someday, push yourself here, why do I want you to do this? Because it turns out that what's crazy today has a funny way of not being so crazy in the future. If you think about all the technologies that are coming down the pipes in the next few years, Google Glass, maybe that'll gain mainstream adoption. Perhaps smartwatches or biometrics are wearable technology. There's so many things coming down the pipes which opened up the floodgates for new triggering opportunities. What might seem a little crazy today, may actually be possible in the future, and you may be able to say to yourself, "look, our product has a key problem in that it doesn't have a good trigger, but perhaps in the future it will." So let's waited until that point in time where that external trigger may open up all new opportunities. That's it for this session, in the next session we're going to look at the next phase of the hook, the action phase. See you then. 4. Designing the simplest action in anticipation of reward: Welcome back. This is Nir Eyal. Welcome back to our course on designing habit-forming technologies. In the last session, we discussed triggers and the importance of identifying your user's internal trigger, as well as providing external triggers to bring them to the action phase. So now it's time to dive into the action itself. This is the behavior that, in a previous exercise, you decided would be the habit that is formed with your user. This is the habitual behavior, the thing that the user does time and time again with little or no conscious thought. What we want to do in this action phase is to really think about what the simplest action is in anticipation of reward. That's really what the action phase is all about. The simplest actions, simplest behavior, which is done in anticipation of some reward or some outcome. Let me show you for a moment what I mean by simple. Just how simple is simple? Something as simple and is easy as a scroll on Pinterest. Just that simple act of scrolling through a Pinterest page gives you more rewards; rewards you with this outcome of these interesting objects, these interesting images on Pinterest. Something as simple as a search on Google. Just typing in a query and pushing search on Google would be the simplest action before a reward, and the reward of course, is the search results. Pushing Play on a YouTube video. So just that simple action of pressing Play and starting that video would be an example of the simplest action done in anticipation of reward. It turns out that according to a prominent researcher, there is a formula for individual actions and individual behaviors. I'm referring to the work of BJ Fogg, who was a researcher at Stanford. He runs the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. Dr. Fogg posits that for any behavior to occur as represented by B for behavior, we need three things to be present at the same time; three things, motivation, ability, and a trigger, all must be present for any singular behavior to occur. Here, again, we're not talking about habits, that's what the Hook model does on the whole we're talking about individual behaviors. Let's talk about motivation ability for a moment, because we've already discussed triggers in the last phase of the Hook model. When it comes to motivation, we can look to the words of Edward Deci, who's one of the leading proponents, I should say, and researchers when it comes to self-determination theory. Dr. Deci says that motivation can really be summarized as the energy for action. How much we want to do something is a definition for motivation. Researchers and psychologists have had varying ideas of what it is that propels human motivation. But I think Dr. Fogg gives three main factors of motivation, which can be split up into these six levers, if you will, six things that we can pull and push to get users more or less motivated depending on the intended behavior. These six factors can be broken down by these things that every human being responds to, which is that we seek pleasure and avoid pain. We seek hope, and we avoid fear. We seek acceptance and we avoid rejection. Now, again, this is Dr. Fogg's perspective, there's lots of different theories around what drives motivation. I like BJ Fogg's model because I think it's simple enough to be useful in the context of building a product in a startup environment or in an enterprise environment. These six factors of motivation are used quite a bit in one particular industry, which of course is advertising. Now, advertising leverages these six factors of motivation to change intended outcomes, intended behaviors. So what we're going to do for a moment is to look at how different ad campaigns have utilized these six factors of motivation. I'm going to show you a few ads, and I'd like you to think of what the key motivator that's being used here might be. Not necessarily what's being sold, but what's the motivator? Here's the first one. This one's a freebie obviously. This is a campaign poster for President Obama's first election run for the White House, and here obviously the motivator is hope. It's written right there across the bottom of the poster. But even without the word hope written across the bottom of the poster, it's pretty obvious what message is being conveyed here. What's the President looking towards? What's his gaze towards? It's hope for the future. That's what this message is all about; seeking hope. Here's another example of advertising campaigns. These campaigns are for selling hamburgers. Here the primary motivator is seeking pleasure. Now, it's worth mentioning for a moment here that motivation and how we seek to use motivation to influence human behavior depends very much on who is being targeted. Now, the target for these advertisements for fast food is a very particular type of person. It's typically a young male, a teenage boy, is really who these ads are targeting. For teenage boys, sex is a very salient motivator associated with pleasure. Now, for other demographics, this type of campaign can backfire. For certain people who are not teenage boys, these ads can literally be quite a turnoff. So motivation is really a factor and which levers we use to motivate people can very much be a factor of that individual and what is meaningful to them. So very meaningful to some people and not so for others. Here's another ad. This one is for campaign to increase the wearing of motorcycle helmets. Here there is a person with a large scar, and the quote here is, "I won't wear a helmet. It makes me look stupid," and it just says the person's name and his mental age of two years old. Here the motivator is, of course, avoiding fear. That the fear of getting into a motorcycle accident, the proponents of this campaign are hoping will encourage people and motivate people to wear motorcycle helmets. Let's do one more. What about this campaign, for Budweiser beer? What's being sold here is beer, and the motivator is social acceptance; seeking social acceptance. Because in this campaign, what's happening is that these folks are enjoying each other's company, they are at a soccer match or some kind of sporting event together. The context for having a beer would be enjoying time with my buds; Budweiser beer. So it's all about seeking social acceptance. We've talked about motivation for just a moment. Of course, there's all kinds of ways to increase motivation in our products using these six factors of motivation. But there's also the ability access, and how we can increase the likelihood of a particular behavior occurring by helping people do the intended action, by increasing their ability to do the intended behavior. Here, according to Dr. Fogg, there are six factors to increase or decrease the user's ability. So how much time something might require, how much money is required? How much physical effort the job might demand? Brain cycle. This is a big one when it comes to technology products. How difficult something is to understand, inherently makes it more difficult to use. If something is hard to understand, and if it increases what we call cognitive load, then the likelihood of the person using the product goes down. Difficult to understand means that behavior will be less likely to occur. Social deviance. Social deviance has to do with how often we've seen other people doing that intended behavior. If we're familiar with other people doing the behavior, if we become more likely to do the behavior when it becomes something that we see other people doing. Then finally, and perhaps most importantly, is non routine. So just the fact that I've done something similar before makes me more likely to do it in the future. The act of continually doing something, when something becomes more and more familiar, it literally increases the user's ability to do it again. Of course, we call that phenomenon practice. The more we do something, the better we become at doing it. This is very important when it comes to habit formation, and how continuous cycles, through the Hook model, literally make the behavior easier to do. If you think about all the products in your life that you become accustomed to, that you use out of habit, simply because it looks right because it's been used for so long that it's part of your routine. So this is where habits become self-reinforce. The more we do something, the more it becomes part of our routine, it literally becomes easier and easier to do. A good example of this might be using Google. Bing, the Microsoft challenger to Google, in October of 2012 launched a campaign called the Bing It On challenge where they proved, according their research, that the split between people's preference between Google and Bing was just about 50-50. That if they took the branding off of the search engine, that people really couldn't tell much of the difference. But of course that begs the question, why then does Google own so much more market share? Google owns about 70 percent of search engine traffic, everybody else makes up the additional 30 percent or so. Bing has really been struggling to gain market share when they compete head to head with Google because people are so averse to switching. They have such a habit, it's become so routine for them to use the product that anything else just looks weird, and it's difficult to use. That's this concept of non-routine. Now what that means is, for us as product designers, is that novelty can be a liability. When the interface is too new, too different, too something the user's not familiar with, we are less likely to get the intended behavior. I put a QR code up here because the QR code was a great idea that never gained mainstream adoption. It never became a mainstream habit because for most people, it was just too weird, it was too difficult. What do you mean I take a picture of this code and why would I do that? It was just too unusual. Now, there are certain contexts where it does work, but it never took off the way proponents hoped it would, because it just was too new, too outside the routines of how people use their phones. Now, Dr. Fogg puts these three elements of motivation, ability, and trigger inside this graph that I think is useful in that, it aligns vocabulary within a product team. That when a product team can look at a particular behavior that you're trying to create. Let's say you're trying to get your user to sign up, or to log in, or to do whatever action you're designing for that user, and they're not doing it for whatever reason. Well, you can look at this BJ Fogg Behavior Model, and figure out what might be lacking. When we put motivation on one axis, ability on the other axis, and then look for a trigger to be present, we find that when there is sufficient motivation as represented by the y-axis, and sufficient ability as represented by the x-axis, and a trigger is present, it crosses this blue line here, and the trigger succeeds. The behavior occurs. Now, if motivation is too low, or the behavior is too hard, meaning that there's not enough ability, so it's too far to the left, then even when a trigger is present, it fails. The behavior does not occur. Let's make this concrete. Let's drive this home. Think of the last time that a phone rang, in your own life, and you didn't pick it up. What might be some reasons why you didn't pick up a phone after it was ringing? Well, one reason might be that you might think it was, let's say, a telemarketer and talking to that person produces pain. You don't want to talk to that person so your motivation is too low, even though you heard the trigger, the phone rang, and you had very high ability, the phone was right next to you, so you could have picked it up. Another reason you may not pick up the phone is that, let's say you're in the shower, and you hear the phone ring, but it's too difficult to go get it. Even if your motivation was very high, the physical effort to go dry yourself off, get out of the shower, race to get the phone, pick it up, would be too difficult. Even though you had sufficient motivation, ability was too low. Now, one more reason that has to do with triggers might be a scenario where you had sufficient motivation to pick up a call, it's somebody very important calling you, the phone was right next to you, so you had plenty of ability, the behavior was easy to do, but no trigger was present. Why might that be? Well, perhaps this phone was on silent. When the trigger wasn't present, it doesn't matter how motivated you are, or how easy the behavior might be to do, without a trigger present, you will not get the behavior to occur. Of course, this directly relates to the products we design. I can't tell you how many times I see products and I go in for a UX review, or look at something that my clients have designed. I ask myself and I ask them, what am I supposed to do? What's the trigger? What's the call to action? Where's the information to tell me what to do next? We always have to remember, we have to have a trigger present, and then sufficient ability, and motivation. Now to increase the likelihood of a behavior occurring, we have to find what the scarcest resource at that moment is. What is it that's in your user's way that's not getting them to do the intended behavior? When it comes to ability, we can think about those six factors. Does the user have enough time? Is money a barrier? Is the behavior too physically demanding? Does it require too much cognitive load? Is it too socially deviant because they've never seen anybody else do that behavior? Or is it simply too new, too novel, it's too outside their normal routine? We constantly have to ask ourselves, if we're designing an individual behavior, what's the users scarcest resource and how do we supplement it? How do we make that behavior easier to do? Here's a key question for us as we consider how we design our products, should designers move motivation or ability first? What do we move first? We know that a trigger always has to be present. But then we should ask ourselves, what do we move first as product designers? Should we boost motivation, the y-axis or should we increase ability? Well, I would posit that we always want to try and increase ability first. Because just like this sign that I took a picture of in San Francisco, this was a parking sign that someone had written on a garage, when people try and increase motivation, as was the case here when the owner of this garage painted please never ever ever never ever ever never ever park here we can try and motivate people, but we typically get the same results. Moving motivation is very hard to do. You can think of it as two rocks, two large boulders. One boulder is on a higher plain than the other. We can think of motivation as the effort required, the energy for action, as Edward DC says, to move that big boulder. Well, which boulder is going to be easier to move? Which one will require less force? Moving the one that's low to a high plain, or the one that's on the high plain to the low plain? Well, obviously, pushing the boulder down the hill is going to be much, much simpler. Why? Because the path designed for that boulder uses gravity, uses what's already there, the design path to move the boulder as opposed to relying just on motivation. Well, this is a great analogy for how we build our products. When we design the path for the user to be simple, to be easy to use, we're using the existing gravity of the user's behavior. We're not pushing, we're allowing the user to guide themselves. Motivation, by definition, requires more cognitive load. People have to understand why they need to do something before they become motivated to do it in many cases. Banking on ability, and at least in the context of startups, is always the first thing we want to do. Now, some products have tapped out ability, and so many of those ads that I showed you earlier are products that are trying to boost motivation when they've already done everything they can to boost motivation. Big brands like soda companies for example, or gasoline companies, these companies can't make their products easier to buy because they've already reached full penetration. There's gas stations within every few miles in America, there's a coke machine, or access to Coca-Cola almost everywhere. The only other access they can move, they can't make the product easier to attain, all they can do is try and make people more motivated to use their brand, or to buy their brand as opposed to somebody else's. But when it comes to our products, when it comes to technology products, we always want to focus on ability first, focus on simplicity. Let's take a look at Twitter over the past few years and to see how they've used these three elements of behavior, when it comes to motivation, ability, and triggers. Here's Twitter in 2009, take a look at what their homepage look like. Here's Twitter in 2010. Here's Twitter today. What do you see that's different? What's changed over the past several years in Twitter's evolution? Let's do that again. Here's Twitter 2009, Twitter 2010, and Twitter today. Well, one thing you might notice, is that the page is a lot simpler. In all three of these pages, what was the intended behavior? What did they want the user to do? Well, it's really sign in or sign up. But in 2009, look at all these triggers. What are all those triggers doing there? One says, get started, one says what, one says why, one says how, one says watch a video, one says click here, one says sign in. There is a lot going on on that page. Lot of words and a lot of confusing triggers. Same goes for 2010 when the product was more about search than it was about signing in, and there's just that sign in or sign up buttons on the right and it's perhaps a little clear. The sign up button is a little bit more distinct, but still a whole lot of triggers which are increasing the cognitive load of the user trying to decide what you want me to do here. Whereas in 2013, and actually this was a change that was made in 2011 when this page was more or less looked like this. These two very clear actions of sign in or sign up. That was really the intended behavior and the page has been drastically simplified to increase that intended behavior. Now, many people when I present this example, will say, "Well look, Twitter is in a different place in 2009, than it is in 2013. In 2009, people didn't know what Twitter was all about and 2013 people are coming to the page with much more information about what Twitter is for." That might be true and that's certainly a consideration, that we need to design our page to meet the user where they are. If they don't know much about our product, we may need to provide them with a little bit more information. But the point here is really about the cognitive load of these triggers. I contend that all of those triggers are confusing to the user no matter what, but they actually didn't help motivate the user more by giving them all these intended actions. If the intended action was, learn about what Twitter is, there should have been one big call to action to help you learn what Twitter's about. Either through a video or through some content, something else to do that intended action. What Twitter really found, because the product was simple enough to teach the user how to use it through just use, by getting the user into the product as quickly as possible, that's actually when they saw a huge bump in user registration and eventual engagement and retention. By getting users into the product, by helping them learn about it, by boosting their motivation through use, not through words and nobody reads, but actually through use of the product, that's when the users got it. That's when the light bulb went off and users started to habituate to the product. Now it's your turn. What I'd like you to do is to start simplifying the action phase of your hook. In this exercise, what I'd like you to do, is to consider the path that your users take to solve their problem, to scratch their itch. I want you to start with the internal trigger that you came up with, that you wrote down in the last exercise. Write that internal trigger down. Then I want you to think about the steps the user needs to take through your product interface to the point where their pain is alleviated a little bit. Where they receive the reward, where they receive the intended outcome. Maybe they're not done, maybe they're not satiated, but what is the point when they're satisfied just a little bit? Their itch is scratched a little bit. Now let me show you an example of how another product would do this exercise. Here's Quora. Quora has a fantastic mobile app, and if you've ever used Quora, it's a question and answer site where people can submit questions and the community answers to the best of their knowledge, all kinds of responses and then these questions get uploaded based on how good the answers are. Now, I believe the internal trigger for using Quora is essentially boredom, but it's a particular type of boredom. It's a certain flavor of boredom. It's when the user is feeling bored but with a little bit of curiosity. It's almost like a National Geographic type of boredom. When the user feels bored, they open the product. They open the app, they login, and I say sometimes because if the user has already logged in, it's through Facebook authentication, they don't even have to do step 2. But let's say they haven't authenticated, so the steps would be; open the app, login, and start scrolling and reading. What happens the second the user starts scrolling and reading? That boredom is suddenly alleviated a little bit, just a little bit. No longer are they bored, but there's something interesting, there's something entertaining to occupy them. That's the three simple steps it takes for the Quora user to scratch their itch. What I want you to do, again, is to map the path users take to scratch their itch, and I put a 10 minute time requirement here to make it fast. I don't want you to think of every little tiny step but just broad strokes. What are the steps the user has to take? If you're finding that, wow, there's a whole lot of steps, that might be a red flag, that might be an opportunity for you to simplify your product. After you've done that, after you've mapped the steps it takes from the user to get from internal trigger, through your interface to the reward, I want you to think of what the scarcest resource is. I want you to review the user flow that you just came up with in the last exercise and to ask yourself, where is the action most difficult and what resource is the user lacking? Are they lacking time, money, physical effort, brain cycles, because a product is too confusing or perhaps it's too socially deviant, it's too outside the norm. Or perhaps it's too non-routine, it's just too new. These are opportunities. We're trying to figure out how to make that intended action, that simplest behavior in anticipation of reward simpler. What can you do to help the user have more of whatever they're lacking of those six things, time, money, physical effort, brain cycles, social deviance, and non-routine? Take a few minutes to think of three testable ways that you could make the action easier. Could you take out unnecessary steps? Could you allow for free trials? Could you make the products simpler to understand? Could you show how others have used it? Or could you make it look like something the user has used in the past, perhaps through a metaphor for what the product is like or what problem it solves for them they may be solving in another way? Take a few minutes with this activity and after you're done with that, we'll explore the rewards phase. The point where the user's pain is alleviated a little bit in the next lesson. 5. Leaving them wanting more: Welcome back to hook to the online course on building habit-forming technology. In the last section of the course, we discussed the action phase and before that we talked about triggers. Of course, internal triggers are things that cue the next action where the instructions for what to do next are in the user's mind through an association. An external trigger gives the user information on what to do next and contains that information within the trigger itself. Then from the trigger, we went to the action phase, where the action is the simplest behavior in anticipation of reward. Now, it's time for the reward phase itself, the thing the user came to actually do or the reward, the outcome where the user scratches their itch. Now, when it comes to rewards, we need to start in the brain, and in particular, an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens that was first studied by researchers in Canada by the name of Olds and Milner. Now, these two researchers back in the 1940s and 50s, discovered that there was a very peculiar set of behaviors that occurred when they allowed lab animals and later people to self stimulate this area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is pretty much in the dead center of your brain. If you were to put a finger on both sides of your temples, you'd be pointing to the nucleus accumbens. Now, what they found was by allowing lab animals and peoples in their experiments to send a tiny electrical current to this specific area of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, they discovered that the people and lab animals wanted nothing but to do that action to stimulate this part of the brain. Now, we also know today that the same area of the brain is also activated through other things, through things we crave, sex and certain objects of desire, certain chemicals, food, particularly junk food, and of course there in the center, our technology. All these things that elicit a craving, a wanting, all stimulate this part of the brain. Now, Olds and Milner originally believed that they had found the brain's pleasure center. Why else would people so incessantly crave to stimulate this part of the brain, the test subjects in some cases had to have these devices that stimulated, that sent these electrical currents to the nucleus accumbens had to have these devices forcibly removed? Olds and Milner concluded that it must be because the sensation of stimulating this part of the brain felt good, that it was pleasurable. Well, it turns out that that's not exactly the case. That we now know that stimulating that part of the brain is not actually about providing pleasure, it's about stimulating what I call the stress of desire. Because what we now have discovered through more recent research that Olds and Milner were not aware of, is that the nucleus accumbens becomes activated in anticipation of reward. In this study done by Knutson in 2001 at Stanford, we see that in this experiment, the nucleus accumbens became active, that's that red and orange area that you see there. It became active, meaning increased bloodflow was registered in that part of the brain when the test subject anticipated an outcome, anticipated a reward. In this case, they had people literally gambling, wagering inside an fMRI machine so they could see where there was increased blood flow in the brain. What's interesting is that the nucleus accumbens became most active before the reward was attained. But when the reward was actually received, when the payout was received, when you would expect the person to experience most pleasure, that's when the nucleus accumbens became less active. That's when activity calmed down in that area of the brain. So it turns out that, that wanting, the craving, stress of desire, that itch that we talked about in the very first session of this course is really stimulated before the reward is attained. Its all about anticipation. That itch that we seek to scratch that we discussed earlier, that message waiting for you was all about not the reward itself, not the outcome that you're waiting for, but the hope of that outcome, the anticipation. It turns out that there happens to be a way to supercharge this stress of desire. Now, perhaps you're curious. Do you want to know what stimulates the stress of desire? What activates that impulse? Well, you're not alone. Of course, I've set you up a little bit here because that curiosity that you may be feeling by me changing my cadence a little bit and asking you a question is exactly my point. That the unknown is fascinating. When I prompted that question, maybe your attention perked up a little bit. Maybe you focused in what I was saying and maybe you're asking yourself what the answer might be, and that's exactly the point. It turns out that that bit of mystery we see in all kinds of experiences, from romance, to technology, to movies, to books, to anything that captures our attention and holds onto it, it turns out, has a degree of mystery and variability. That's what we're going to talk about for a little bit here. Now, some of the research that helps us understand why variability is so interesting and helps us focus our attention and engagement and yes leads to habits and even addictions in some cases, comes out of the work of B.F. Skinner. B.F. Skinner, you may remember if you've taken a psych one-on-one classes, his work is very well known, and very well read, found that when he took his lab pigeons and he gave them the opportunity to press a lever to receive a food pellet, a reward. When the reward was given on a predictable schedule, on a fixed schedule of reward so that every time the pigeon will click the lever, a food pellet would come out, the pigeon would more or less click the lever whenever they were hungry. However, when Skinner created a bit of intermittent rewards, so meaning when the food pellet would come out, maybe sometimes, maybe other times it would not, the pigeon would click something, a food pellet would come out, the next time it wouldn't come out. The rate of response, the number of times that Skinner observed the intended behavior increased. So variability actually increased the designed behavior, the intended behavior, because we now know that the nucleus accumbens becomes more active, becomes stimulated by variability. When things are a bit unpredictable, when there's mystery, that wanting, that desire, that stress in fact increases. Now, what we see in products that are habit-forming and even addictive to some degree, we see these three types of variable rewards. Just as a side note, again, we're creating healthy habits. We're not here to create addictions, things that harm people. We're here to help people live better, richer, healthier, and more connected lives by helping them build more healthy habits into their day-to-day routines. Now, by finding ways that we can use variable rewards in our product design, we can make our products more engaging and get people to interact with them more frequently to do those intended behavior. So what we see in all sorts of habit-forming technologies, not only habit-forming technologies, but habit-forming experiences, things that focus our intake and our attention that capture our attention, we find one or more of these variable reward types, rewards of the tribe, rewards of the hunt, and rewards of the self. Again, we see one or more of these variable reward types in many different types of habit-forming technologies. Let's start off with the search for social rewards, what I call rewards of the tribe. Rewards of the tribe are about things that have a variable component, that come from other people. So things like empathetic joy, the pleasure we feel by watching other people experience happiness, partnerships, cooperation, sex, competition. These are all things that have an element of mystery, an element of the unknown, that feel good from other people. These are all forms of variable social rewards. A great example of technologies that use this technique, rewards of the tribe, of course, social networking. On social media, for example, sites like Facebook, we find that when Mark Zuckerberg got married, 1.2 million people liked it. Think about for a minute all the variability that's involved in social media. What are people going to post? How many people are going to like it? What are the comments going to say? There's all kinds of variable reinforcement to checking Facebook, lots of mystery associated with what you're going to find when you check in to Facebook. Of course, sports, spectator sports has a huge element of variability, not only on the game itself, but there's rewards of the tribe around associating with other people. Think about all the things that we do to associate with our tribes, we dress up in team colors, we paint our faces, we pay too much for beer and hot dogs. All around this reinforcement we get by being with our tribe. Of course, there's a variable element to that. Another example might be Stack Overflow. So Stack Overflow is the world's largest technical question and answers site. On this site, 5,000 questions get answered every single day. These are not easily answered questions. These are questions that require a great deal of time and effort to answer properly. Now sometimes people spend hours and hours on providing answers on Stack Overflow and the question, of course, is why do they do it? Why would someone, for no pay, spend so much time answering highly technical questions? Well the answer comes down to the value of recognition from our tribe. That when someone posts an answer onto Stack Overflow, that answer can be upvoted and upvoting earns you points and points earns you badges and badges earn you status on the site. The most involved contributors on Stack Overflow literally help administer the site. Only 60 people approximately, last time I checked, work for Stack Overflow and yet thousands of people provide the content and the administration of the site. Why? Because people value the rewards that are conferred by people they respect. These badges and points aren't just about decoration. That's not what they're used for. They denote your status and how much value you've given to your tribe. They're an embodiment of how people who respect you and your opinion feel about you, your tribe, your group of other engineers. Now an important note here is that social rewards, that is, must come from people, not machines. We find time and time again that when rewards are inappropriately conferred, when they are given to people when they don't mean something, then they are disregarded. If they're not meaningful, then people ignore them. In fact, they can often backfire. So here's an example. Google News Reader at one point used to give badges for doing something people did anyway, read their news and these badges came from an algorithm that came from a computer. Well receiving an award from machine for something I do anyway didn't really mean something to the Google News Reader users. It wasn't a meaningful reward, principally because it wasn't from my tribe. It reeked of inauthenticity. Whereas on Stack Overflow, a similar system of badges is authentic. It comes from people whose opinions I care about. Next is this search for resources, rewards of the hunt. Now rewards of the hunt stemmed from our primal search for resources, for food. Of course, in modern society, food is bought with money. So we see many different variable rewards system set up around the variable achievement of money. One example can be slot machines. So when many people think of variable reward, they think of Vegas and they think of gambling. Of course, that is a variable rewards mechanism that Skinner himself explained through some of his experiments. When a gambler plays on a slot machine or gambles somehow, there's a variable component to what they will receive, what the payout might be. Of course, our jobs also have a variable material reward component. Our bonus at the end of a year, whether a deal will close, whether the next sale will come through, all these things have a variable component. There's mystery to what the outcome might be. Of course, we see these experiences are there to engage us. The bonus pool is there because we're searching for that component of the unknown. What will the bonus this year be? There's this element of mystery. Now one thing that I discovered in my research is that there's variable rewards of the hunt also used in retail locations, particularly at one retailer that I admire a great deal, Ross Dress for Less. Now Ross Dress for Less is a very interesting company. The stock has actually done very, very well. The company has performed very, very well over the past seven years. What's surprising about this company is that even as Ross has done well, some of its competitors have not done as well, in the very same period of time. So for example, JCPenney had a very rough 2013. The CEO was fired, even though that CEO was brought in from Apple. The first thing that CEO did was to proclaim that JCPenney would no longer be giving out coupons, would no longer be having special sales, no more gimmicks. Everything would be straight and consistent and predictable at JCPenney from now on. Of course, the customer response was not so good. Sales tanked, as illustrated by how different the Ross Dress for Less strategy is. If you go into Ross Dress for Less, you'll find that you shop in a very different way than you might at JCPenney. At JCPenney, or Walmart, or Target, you shop by your section. When you see an item of clothing, let's say in the men's, or women's section, or the children's section, you see a shirt, for example, and you see that same shirt in small, medium, large, and extra-large, identical products, different sizes. At Ross Dress for Less, that's not the way it works. You go into Ross and shop by your size. When you get to the rack, you'll see single individual items that each and everyone is different. Why is that? Well Ross entices users, entices its particular demographic of customers through what it calls the treasure hunt. As soon as you walk into Ross Dress for Less, you'll see a sign that says, "Welcome to the treasure hunt." It's all about finding this search for variable rewards of the hunt, searching and searching for that special deal among racks and racks of individual items. It's all about looking for that deal. In my research, I found that many of the customers that I talked to who shop at Ross habitually will go from Ross to Ross to Ross in their neighborhood, whereas they would never do that at a JCPenney because at JCPenney, or Walmart pretty much stocks the same inventory. But at Ross, it's always different. There's always mystery there. So there's variable rewards associated with rewards of the hunt, from material things, like money, for shopping items, like articles of clothing. Rewards of the hunt can also be found in information rewards. So if you think for a moment about why is it that the news feed, that the feed mechanism here, news feed or timeline, for example, this mechanism of a scrolling feed of information, why has it become so popular over the past few years? Why do so many technologies seem to have implemented some kind of feed? Well let's think about it for a minute. If you look at Twitter, you see that you've got one item that might not be interesting, the next item might not be interesting, but the third item is very interesting. So if I want more, all I have to do is flick. All I have to do is continue to scroll with my thumb or with my mouse, and scrolling and scrolling can be compared to pulling the lever on a slot machine. It's that simple action in anticipation of reward, and that reward is delivered on a variable schedule of reinforcement. If you want to see the masters of this, you take a look at Pinterest. Pinterest is a site that users post all interesting imagery, and I think this comic really illustrates the point well. This comic I found on the right-hand side here, I found on a pinboard that was called Pinterest addicts, and it's got this little stick man who's looking at a screen saying, "Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll," and he giggles, "Heh, heh, heh," and then he says, "Scroll, scroll, scroll," again. That's exactly the mindset. It's searching and searching and never done searching for what might be next, what the next reward might be with a quick flick of the thumb. So we've done rewards of the tribe, rewards at the hunt and now it's time for the rewards of the self, which is all about the search for self-achievement. So reward of the self really have to do with things that feel good, that are intrinsically motivating, but aren't about rewards that we get from other people and aren't about material rewards, such as information, money and things. So these are things that are rewarding in and of themselves, intrinsic rewards. So if you know about self-determination theory or perhaps you've read Daniel Pink's book, Drive, this is where much of that work falls in. These are things that feel good that have a variable component to them, which we attain a sense of well-being through the attainment of mastery, consistency, control, and competency. So a great example of this might be on games. So many games have this element of mastery and competency, even when we play them by ourselves. Getting to the next level, the next achievement, the next goal is fun, because it's enjoyable to gain mastery and competency in an experience. If you say to yourself, "Well I don't really play games that much. This doesn't apply to me." I pretty much bet you play this game every single day. Our inbox, or our task management, our to-do lists are all about this need for consistency and completion. Needing to check that one last message, or filter through that SMS, or that jule icon that came on an app, on your phone, all of these things, that compulsion, that need to check is all about this search for consistency, completion, and mastery. Of course, there's a variable component to it. How often these things arrive? What's in these messages are all a variable component. Now there are some words of warning. Before you go off and build variable rewards inside your product, there are some things you need to know. First of all, variable rewards are not a free pass. So we still have to address the user's itch. We can't just put points and badges and leaderboards and all variable reward components into a product and expect them to work. That's why it's so important to really understand your user's internal triggers, understand their motivators, so that we align the reward with the itch we're trying to scratch. If you don't do that, the reward you're offering simply won't work. It won't be meaningful as we saw earlier with the case of Google News Reader. Second, you need to know that autonomy is a prerequisite that users need to feel in control. Whenever people don't feel in control, they rebel. There's a psychological phenomenon called reactants, and maybe you felt this if you've ever been micromanaged by your boss or you've been told to put on a jacket by your mother when it's cold outside, you may have felt that rebellious feeling, to throw off whatever's trying to control you. That's the innate human response. All of us feel that reactants reflex. It turns out that even if people signed up to use a product, they often will rebel against it when it gets too intrusive, when it tells them what to do. Anytime apps that even try and do good for people, like those who try and help people work out, or eat better, or manage their finances, when the products become too intrusive, when they're no longer rewarding, and they're not pleasurable to use, particularly at first, then users rebel. Of course, if users ever feel like they're being tricked, like they're being manipulated, game over. Then they definitely will rebel because their autonomy is threatened. Users constantly need to feel in control and the experience needs to be a want to, not a have to. Things need to be enjoyable for the user, needs to be something they want to do as opposed to feel like they have to do. One last point here, is that variable rewards should have an element of infinite variability. Now, what do I mean by that? Many times when I talk about variable rewards, people will ask about video games. If there's so many variable rewards built into video games, why aren't we still playing the old classics? Why don't we all still play Super Mario Brothers, or Pac-Man, or Frogger. What happened to those old great games we used to play? Why are they not interesting anymore? For that matter, what about FarmVille? Farmville was one of the fastest growing video games in history, and for a time, everyone in the world seemed to be playing Farmville. Then suddenly, it became less interesting. Well, what happened to Farmville? Let's think about the timeline of Farmville. I'm not sure if I'm getting this order exactly right, but it sounded pretty much like this. FarmVille was released, I think this was around 2008, 2009, and then the next game was CityVille, and then ChefVille, and then FrontierVille, and then FarmVille 2. Users kept seeing the same frames over and over again, and what was once variable and interesting became predictable. That's an example of finite variability, where the more the user interacts with the experience, the more they're likely to understand the variable component and be able to predict how the outcome of the game will unfold. When there isn't mystery, then variability is lost. Of course, we see this phenomenon also occur with the consumption of media. When you read a book or see a movie, even if it's a great story, when you know how the book or the movie is going to wrap up, when you know how the happy ending unfolds, it becomes a lot less interesting. When you think about all the movies that are made every year, all the books that are written, very few of them become cult classics and are ever consumed more than once. After the story is unveiled, most of us never read the book again or see the movie more than once. Now there are some cult classics that people see time and time again, but what you'll find is, that there's something deeper going on. Either there's a community of like-minded people that people like to associate it with, such as the Star Trek fans, or there's something that they're looking for that's still mysterious in terms of the way the movie was made, or the production value, or the soundtrack, or something else that they're looking for the deeper meaning, or the deeper production value that they're trying to uncover. It's not just how the story ends. As opposed to infinite variability, products that are able to maintain an element of variability for longer tend to also keep user engagement for longer. For example, on social media, the fact that our friends are always changing. People are having babies, they're going on trips, they're leaving interesting comments, they're constantly in flux, they're constantly changing. This would be an example of infinite variability. You never know what you're going to find when you use one of these products like a Twitter, or Facebook, or even LinkedIn, there's much more variability to what you might find. Now, that doesn't mean that these habits won't eventually be replaced by something else. They most certainly will be replaced by something else. But users tend to be engaged longer with products that have an element of infinite variability as opposed to finite variability. So the lesson here is to build variable rewards that sustain the user's interest, but leave them wanting more. We have to satiate the user's itch, to scratch the user's itch, but leave them wanting more, to get them to come back again next time. So now it's your turn to reward your users. We're going to do another activity here and I recommend you bring out your partner. Hopefully, you've got someone to bounce some ideas off of, but of course you can do this by yourself as well. I want you to push yourself here. Go back to the last exercise that we reviewed in the action phase of the hook, where you made your user flow. The steps between when the user feels their internal trigger, to use your product through their interface to the point where their itch is alleviated a little bit, to the point where they first experienced the reward. In that flow, I want you to ask yourself, how can you provide a reward that might leave the user wanting more? Here you have an opportunity to brainstorm three ways, three hypotheses for how you can engage users in a search for variable rewards. Ask yourself, how might you use rewards of the tribe, meaning gratification that comes from others? How might you use rewards of the hunt, the search for money, things, and information? Then finally, rewards of the self. How can you have an element of mastery, completion, competency, or consistency in your product that leaves an element of mystery, that leaves some challenge for the user. Now, not all of these three variable reward mechanisms will necessarily work for every product, you're lucky if you can find one. The most habit-forming products tend to have more than one, but try these on for size. You might be surprised that there are other ways to implement some element of variability into your product that you may not have considered. So push yourself to come up with at least three ways to use variable rewards inside your product, either through rewards of the tribe, rewards of the hunt, or rewards of the self, and then we'll get started on the next and final phase of the hook model, the investment phase, which is perhaps the most important phase of the hook model. See you soon. 6. Increase the likelihood of using the product again: Welcome back to the next lecture in hooked course on how to build habit forming technology. We're at the final phase of the hook model. We've passed through the trigger phase which was all about understanding the internal trigger, and external trigger, figuring out what brings our customers to the product through the action phase, which is all about the simplest behavior in anticipation of reward. Then we went into the reward phase which is all about satiating the users need while leaving them wanting more. Then finally, we've arrived at the investment phase. Now, the investment phase is perhaps the most neglected, I think, of the four steps of the hook model, because I think a lot of companies don't think about the investment phase and the opportunity to help people put value into the product. Now, the investment phase is really all about increasing the likelihood of the next pass through the hook so bringing people back to the product and getting them to pass through the four phases of trigger, action, reward, investment again in the future. Because remember, we're not building single use products here. If your product requires that customers come to engage, get their problem solved and never come back, well, then this whole course isn't really for you. This is about products that get people to come back habitually, using the product with little or no conscious thought. The day in and day out behavior is that cause us to engage with particular products. Again, we're doing this so that we can help improve people's lives, to help them live better healthier lives by establishing healthy habits, just like many companies are currently doing in Silicon Valley. The investment phase is the necessary fourth step that differentiates just any learned behavior from a habit forming product. When it comes to product design, we really have to have this investment phase. The investment phase very simply is about the user putting in a bit of work for future benefit not about immediate gratification like the action phase. The action phase was about the simplest action in anticipation of immediate reward. When it comes to the investment phase, the investment is about future benefits. It's about something the user puts into the product like money, personal data, emotional commitments some effort, time, social, capital. Something they put into the product to increase the likelihood of using the product in the future. There are really two ways that the investment phase increases the likelihood of the next pass through the hook model, and we'll discuss those in this lecture. The first is that investments in the product load the next trigger. Now, what do I mean by that? Now, there's certain investments that the user can make, certain actions that they can take which trigger the user to come back. They load the next external trigger. Let me show you some examples. One might be WhatsApp or any messaging app for that matter, or e-mail. Every time someone sends a message in e-mail or through SMS or in this case WhatsApp, they're loading the next trigger. Now, how is that? If you think about it, there's no immediate gratification to sending an e-mail or sending a text or sending a message on WhatsApp. You don't get points, you don't get badges. There's no magic rewards that occur. You're sending that message in anticipation of a future reward, and in doing so you're loading the next trigger. Because every time you send someone a message, it's an open invitation for the external trigger to be returned. When someone sends you a message back, now you've got an opportunity to reengage. Now, you see that jewel icon that's an example of an external trigger. It tells you what to do next, open the app because someone return the message. We've increased the likelihood of using the app in the future by loading the next trigger. These loading of next trigger can span any external trigger that can bring the user back such as a notification, an e-mail, an alert, any external trigger as long as it's loaded in the investment phase. Another example might be Pinterest. One of the major advancements that Pinterest made in its product growth was getting people to insert this Pin It button. Now, the Pin It button is simply an extension on the chrome of the user's browser where by whenever the user sees an item they want to save, and of course that's the internal trigger, is that need to save, to capture, to retain something they find on the web and that fear that they might lose it. Well now, they have this Pin It button, as you can see in the top right the p in the red circle, that they simply click on that extension and now they can save directly into Pinterest. This is brilliant for a number of reasons. One is that of course, they clearly identified the internal triggers that whenever the user has this fear of loss, they simply click the Pin It button. Second is look how closely they've coupled the old way of doing things with the new way of doing things. Remember what I said in an earlier session that many times we want to look for habit forming opportunities by finding how users are currently doing the behavior before the technology existed and then we need to find ways how the technology can make that behavior easier. Well, look what's right next to the Pin It button. There's that star, which is how you would save a bookmark. Of course, that's really the old habit that Pinterest replace. Remember how we said in the trigger phase that new habits aren't created, they're only built upon. Well that existing behavior of saving websites for later was a long established behavior. People have been saving websites ever since the browser. But now Pinterest comes along and seeks to replace that behavior by identifying the internal trigger of the need to save the fear of losing content and placing the new external trigger right next to the old way of doing things. Of course, every time the user uses that button every time they pin something, there's an opportunity to load the next trigger. We're going to see here in a minute how this works specifically with Pinterest. This is perhaps the first time you've seen a complete hook model. We're going to take Pinterest as a case study in how the complete hook model might work. This is the first hook. Many products had these hooks in series, one or two main hooks that bring the users coming back. This is Pinterest main consumer hook. In this case, the external trigger, the way that most people heard about Pinterest for the very first time might be Facebook or Twitter or word of mouth, hearing it from a friend. The action then is to simply scroll. The first time a user lands onto the Pinterest page, the intended action is just to scroll and it's a very hard thing not to do. I dare you actually to go to Pinterest and not scroll at least once. It's very hard because there's all these interesting things to observe. Every time the user scrolls, they're rewarded with these interesting objects. That's of course, the rewards of the hunt, searching and searching for all this interesting content. Finally, the investment phase is that every time the user re-pins something or pin something, or follows, or comments, they're loading the next trigger. How did they do that? Let's look at Pinterest next hook, and this is for a more experienced user, somebody who's used this site a little bit, perhaps they've registered now for the site. I call these people curators, so this would be the curator hook. Now, because I've pinned or re-pinned some content that I found on Pinterest, now the company has the ability to send me a new external trigger. They've loaded the trigger in the investment phase and now I get an email or notification telling me that someone has done something to something I've pinned. For example, maybe my friend Jenny has commented on something I've pinned, that I found online. Well, I want to know what's there. I want to know based on this message, I'm curious. There's some variable reward awaiting for me, and all I have to do to get that reward is to login, the action phase, simply login to the site. Now, I'm rewarded with resolution for this mystery of, what did my friend Jenny say? Did she re-post? What did she say? Did she like? How many other people commented on it? So now there's rewards of the tribe. Pinterest becomes more than just about the rewards of the hunt which are still there, of course, all the interesting objects. But now it's also a communication medium. Now it becomes also about exchanging information with my tribe. So there's rewards of the tribe involved. Now in the investment phase, I have the opportunity to, again, pin, re-pin, follow, comment, and of course install this Pin It button. The more I do this, the more I cycle through these four phases of trigger, action, reward, investment, the more effort I put into the product, the more I create an association for what Pinterest it's for. It's for satiating this fear of losing my content, of losing interesting things I found on the web, and my stress and pain about this fear of losing this content is relieved by activating the site, by using the site, and of course it's a boredom alleviator. When it's sometime in the afternoon when I should really should be doing some bit of work and between two and four o'clock and I'm a bit mentally fatigued, Pinterest might be a great place to go check out some interesting designs or go waste some time. That's a great boredom alleviator for these consumers, and of course they're getting a lot of benefit from it by connecting with friends, by finding things that are interesting for them and so it meets that internal trigger. It satiates that itch that they might feel. So we discussed that the first way that products bring users back through the hook model, through investments is by loading the next trigger. The second way that products bring users back, having forming products, bringing users back, is by storing value. This is a very important characteristic. In the investment phase, stores value and improves the product with use. Now, why is this important? Because unlike products in the physical world, your laptop, your phone, the furniture in your house, your car, all these things in the physical world depreciate over time. The more you use them, the less valuable they become, they age. However, habit-forming technology, when done correctly, has the opportunity to appreciate, so the more we use it, the better it becomes. Let me show you how. Every time we put content into a habit-forming technology, for example, the more of my music collection that I put into iTunes, the more content I store, the better a library of my music it becomes, so it serves my needs better by having one central place to store my music, the more I use it the better it becomes. Of course, Apple has recently released iTunes radio where they look at the music you've previously listened to, that's in your collection and they improve future recommendations based on your content selection, which leads us into another form of stored value data. Every time I use a personal finance software, such as in this case, Every time I use software like this, I'm loading data into the system. The more I use it, the better the product becomes. The better able Mint is to help me with my personal finances based on this new data that they collect through my use. Another example is followers. So the more followers or friends I have on a site, the more valuable a product comes to me. So this form of stored value makes the product more and more useful because I can better reach my audience. The more of Twitter followers you have, the better the product becomes in its intended purpose of reaching people, and of course, there's a virtuous cycle there in that there's more rewards associated with the more followers I have, more people to star things that I might tweet, to retweet. There's more variable rewards associated with that experience, the more followers someone might have. Then finally, reputation. This form of stored value is one that people can literally take to the bank. The more stored value that I have in terms of reputation on sites like TaskRabbit, or eBay, or Airbnb, I can literally use that reputation score to make more money on the sale of my products and services. So reputation is a remarkable form of stored value in that the more I use the product, the higher value my services become, the more value associated to the services that I use the product for. Then this final point that investments create preference. Now, in the very beginning of this course, we talked about the two necessary condition, the two factors that create a habit and one of course was frequency. Then we talked about the importance of regular behaviors. Frequent behaviors ideally that are done within the span of a week's time or less and of course, the more frequent that behavior occurs, the more likely habit is to form. Then we also talked about how the second criteria was that there was a change in attitude, a change in preference. In this case, it turns out there's all kinds of research around how investments literally change our perception of the behavior. Fundamentally changing the way we view our actions. So asking users to do a bit of work at the right time is a critical step in habit-forming technologies. Now, this might be a bit of a conflict to what I told you earlier. In the action phase, I told you make the action as easy as possible. It's all about simplicity in anticipation of the reward. Well, that's before the reward. After the reward, we want to make sure we take that opportunity to ask the user to invest in the product. So paying, putting in some data, putting in some investment into the product to increase the likelihood of the next pass. It turns out that by the user putting in a bit of investment, they literally shape the way they view the product. Finally, to wrap up this almost last lecture, I'm going to ask you to find ways to get your users to invest in your product. Ask yourself by reviewing your flow in one of the activities that we did earlier, to build upon that and ask yourself, what's the bit of work that you can ask your user to do, to increase the likelihood of them returning? Now, this might be a great time to bring back an action that you might've taken out of your flow earlier. So if in that action phase you found that you had lots of steps and you decided to take out some of those steps, perhaps you took out the registration process or some other cumbersome experience that stood in between your user's internal trigger and the reward, this might be where you bring that back. This might be where you ask the user to invest a bit in that product. But again, it's crucial that it happens after the reward, after the user's itch has been scratched a little bit. What I want you to do is to brainstorm three ways to add a bit of investment into your user experience to either load the next trigger and/or store value and ideally both of those. You really want to find ways to load the next trigger and store value in some way. Look back through this presentation and glance over the different types of stored value and to figure out ways that your product will appreciate the more the user interacts with the product, so that you can ask the user to invest in order to form long term habits. In the final lecture, we're going to talk about what to do next, how to use this knowledge that you've now attained for good. 7. What are you going to do with this knowledge?: Hello, welcome back to the final lecture in the hooked online course on how to build habit-forming technology. In this lecture, we're going to have some closing thoughts around how to use the hook model for good. Let's just review quickly the fundamental principles of the hook model. The hook is essentially an experience designed to connect the user's problem to your solution with enough frequency to form a habit. What we've learned is that to form these user habits, we can do so through these successive cycles, through the four phases of the hook model, trigger the action and reward investment. Through successive passes through the hook, we begin to shape users preferences, users attitudes, and their future habits and behaviors. We've learned that frequency is a key component and by frequent passes through the hook. The more often the user can pass through these four steps of the hook model, the more likely a habit is to be formed. Remember the acronym of ATARI, that a hook has four parts. A trigger, an action, or reward, and an investment. You can use the five questions here through this hook canvas to ask yourself if your product meets the bar to form a habit. So you can use these five questions to ask yourself, do we have the components we need to form a habit? If so, great. How can we improve those four phases? How can we make the trigger, action, reward, investment even better inside our product? You can ask yourself these five questions to determine the strength of your habit-forming product. You can start with, what is the internal trigger that your product is addressing? What's the itch? What's the need that your product is addressing for the user? Then, what is the external trigger that gets the user to your products? So how are they brought to take the next action? So what is it in their physical space that tells them what to do next? Then number three, what's the simplest behavior done in anticipation of reward and of course, how can you make it even simpler? Four is the reward for feeling and yet leaves the user wanting more. So this is where variable rewards come into play. How can you create something that satiate the user and yet leaves them wanting more? Then finally, what's the bit of work done to increase the likelihood of the user returning? How can the user do something of value to lower the next trigger, and to store value in the product to increase the likelihood of them returning again? Now, it's time to talk about the morality of manipulation. Because we need to think about, as we build products to change user's habits and to change user's behaviors, what is our role as product designers? Let's face it. We're manipulating behavior here. But as I mentioned from the very beginning, my hope is always that we can use these techniques for good. Because designing habit-forming products is certainly a form of manipulation where we're guiding users down an intended path. But my hope is that we'll use this responsibly, because we have to. Habit-forming technologies are those that users take with them to bed, they check their devices before saying good morning to their loved ones. As Ian Bogost said, "Technology may in fact be the cigarette of this century." What this means is that we have a certain responsibility whenever we think about changing user behavior. So I want you to consider what's your role in that process. Are you changing user behavior for good? Because the world is full of problems to fix. That is one thing we have no shortage of. I hope that you'll use this knowledge to help people find meaning and to engage them in something important because the tactics that I've told you today in the hook model had been used many times for time wasting purposes and even for nefarious reasons. But I think we can change that. I think we can use habit-forming technology to help people live better, happier, healthier, and more connected lives by helping them build habits for change that positively affects their lives. I encourage you to take this knowledge and help people build healthy habits and to take liberties with the words of Gandhi, I encourage you to build the change that you wish to see in the world. It's been a pleasure teaching this course and I hope that you've enjoyed it and have learned from it. If you would please, I would love to hear what you thought of this course. Please go to OpinionTo.Us. Please note that its OpinionTo.US I would love to hear what you thought or the course if you can leave me a few comments, it's a very short five questions survey. As soon as you take the survey, you'll be able to click Submit and be taken to my SlideShare page where you can have all these slides for yourself and you can share them within your organization. Also, you'll be able to subscribe to my blog, I blog at You'll receive regular updates and blog posts about the topic of habit-forming technology. If you haven't already, please follow me on Twitter @nireyal. That's my Twitter handle there. Of course, feel free to reach out through my website if I can be helpful to you in the future. Thank you for watching.