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Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Lesson 7 of 14

The Fundamentals of Human behavior Design

Nir Eyal

Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal

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Lesson Info

7. The Fundamentals of Human behavior Design

Lesson Info

The Fundamentals of Human behavior Design

So for this segment, we are going to continue progressing through the hook model we started out with the trigger phase. Now we're going to get to the action phase of the hook. Now the action is the behavior itself. It's the habit that you all wrote down that last exercise, this is the behavior you want the user to do with little or no conscious thought, the action phases summarized as defined by the simplest behavior it done in anticipation of a reward, the simplest behavior done anticipation of reward. So I want to show you a few habit forming products. I'm sure you will use many of these products, and I want you to see just how simple the action face is in these products and services so scrolling on pinterest just that act of a scroll or searching on google, or what could be simpler than pushing the play button on youtube he's very, very simple actions done in anticipation of an immediate reward. Now it turns out there's actually a formula to help us predict the likelihood of these s...

ingular behaviors, and this formula comes to us from a researcher at stanford by the name of bj fog, and dr fogg tells us that for any human behavior, we need three things at the same time, we need sufficient motivation. We need sufficient ability that the ai ability is how easy or difficult something is to dio and the t stands for triggers which we just talked about in the last section so b equals m eighty motivation ability in a trigger so let's dive into this for me little bit deeper motivation according to edward d c who you see here he's the father of self determination theory he tells us that the motivation is the energy for action it's how much we want to d'oh ah particular behavior now motivation is one of these areas of consumer psychology that we've been arguing about for decades and decades but I like what fog tell us which is that all human beings have these six basic motivators these six basic levers that we can use in designing it experience that either increase or decrease user motivation because all of us as human beings we seek pleasure and we avoid pain we seek hope and we avoid fear we seek social acceptance and we avoid social rejection okay, so these six levers are at work all the time when people are trying to persuade us when customers are trying to persuade us to increase our energy for action to increase motivation now one of the fields that specializes in changing user motivation is the ad industry and so to test your competency on these six levers on these six factors of motivation I'm going to show you some ads and I want you to tell me what motivator is being used not not with being sold that's going to be clear what I want you to tell me is what motivators being used seeking pleasure avoiding pain seeking hope avoiding fear seeking social acceptance or avoiding social rejection you ready the first one's a freebie okay pretty officer right? But even if the word wasn't written across the bottom of the poster what's the president looking towards the future exactly is looking towards hope for the future my pretty obvious all right here's another set of ads this one is for fast food what's the motivator being sold being used here pleasure right seeking pleasure now what's the demographic who are these ads targeted two guys probably younger males, right? Somebody said men men is incorrect these ads are not targeted towards men these ads are targeted two boys why? Because sex is a highly saline motivator social with pleasure for young men and they're at that age where they don't understand how offensive this actually is right there's still too stupid to understand all that. So this is a great example of how we have to gear are motivator to our audience so when I was a teenager this was awesome but now that I'm the father of a seven year old little girl and that's someone's daughter too it's not so cool anymore all right, so we have to make sure that we're using the right motivator for our audience that what motivates some people is actually quite offensive and is a de motivator to other people here's another ad this is for motorcycle helmets and it has a man with a large scar on his head and it says I won't wear a helmet it makes me look stupid and it says his mental age is two years old what's the motivator being used here fair of course obviously fear last one this is an advertisement for beer uh what's the motivator being used here social acceptance exactly the product isn't even featured in the ad right what's the motivator that's being used here is social acceptance I'm having a beer with my buds budweiser beer so there's a lot more to be said about motivation there's there's the whole science and art around how to boost user motivation and using this energy for action let's now to turn to the next part of b equals m eighty the a stands for ability ability is the capacity to do a particular action to do a particular behavior and here again fall gives us the six factors of ability that make a behavior easier are difficult, more difficult to do and therefore more or less likely to occur based on how much time something takes howmuch money something costs how much physical effort is required brain cycles this is a big one particular when it comes to technology products because it turns out they're harder something is to understand the less likely that behavior is to occur social deviant says that we become more likely to do something simply for the fact that we have seen other people like us doing it and finally non routine says that we become more likely to do something because we have done it before in the past, which is why the best predictor of what you will do tomorrow is what you did yesterday. Why? Because the more we do a particular behavior, the easier it becomes and the more likely we are to do it again in the future what we call that principal called practice right the more we do it, the easier it becomes, the more likely we are to do it again. So foggy thes three basic elements on this graph that's very useful in a product development setting when you're making a new website, a great new app and a customer service experience, whatever it is that you're trying to turn into a habit for your for your user and for whatever reason darn it the customer isn't doing the thing you want them to do, right? They're not clicking there not participating whatever it might be that you want the user to dio if they're not doing that behavior, you can ask yourself does the user have sufficient motivation? High motivation is appear low motivation is down here does the user have sufficient ability a bill if something is easy to dio it's over here something is difficult to do it's over here and when the user has sufficient motivation and sufficient ability the behaviours easy enough to do they cross this threshold and when the trigger is present the behavior will occur every single time online offline your behavior your significant others behavior kid's behavior your customer and users behavior will all be determined by these three basic factors of motivation ability and a trigger okay let's make this concrete I want you to think of the last time that a telephone rang in your life and you did not pick up the phone phone rings why don't you pick it up give me a reason yeah my kids want something okay so you're the phone's ringing but your kids want something else right is everything like at that exact second their economy they're calling so that's an example of low motivation right you've got something else that's more important you're not motivated to pick up the call because there's something else in your way even if the phone is right there next to you you hear the phone ring the trigger was there because you heard it ring very easy I could just pick up the call right but there's something that's pulling me away I have low motivation to pick up the call the call goes on unanswered might also be if you saw an unknown number or somebody didn't talk to all examples of low motivation you don't cross a threshold that behavior doesn't occur what's another reason has to do with the trigger or ability why you may not pick up a call you can hear it you didn't hear terrific so let's say you have plenty of motivation you really wanted to pick up that call the phone was right there next to you but he was on silent does that ever happened anybody the phone was on silent so even if you had tons of motivation tons of ability if you didn't hear the phone ring if there was no trigger that behavior can occur what's one more reason has to do with ability brushing your teeth urine disposes too difficult right there maybe you're taking a shower maybe you're brushing her teeth you're doing something that's currently occupying yourself right? So if the phone rings across the house for example even if you hear it and even if you want to pick up the call now I'm gonna put my toothbrush down I gotta wash up I gotta go all the way across the house it's too difficult to dio right? I'm not going to do it because it's too hard to do that intended behavior I lack ability and therefore I never cross the threshold so for every human behavior offline online doesn't matter any human behavior this doesn't matter if you're building a habit forming product if you're trying to onboard somebody whatever it is that you want a user too do we always have to make sure we have sufficient motivation sufficient ability and a trigger must be present so let me ask you we know triggers are prerequisite we have to have those triggers to prompt action but then what do we move first should we spend more of our time and effort on boosting user motivation convincing people that they should do this use this product of service do the intended action should we boost motivation or should we spend more of our time increasing ability making the behavior easier to dio so this is this is an interesting question let's just take a quick poll here how many of us think it's ability we make the behavior easier to dio and how many of us think it's motivation we boost user motivation okay all right so here I actually I have a strong opinion on this one I think we always go for ability first and here's why? Because when we try and increase user motivation as I saw in this garage maybe some of you have seen this garage here in san francisco I think it's actually down the street somebody wrote on this garage please never ever never ever park here but oftentimes the case when we try and boost user motivation, we tend to get the same results, so boosting user motivation is very difficult it's hard to do it's expensive it requires a lot of cognitive load, teo get people convinced and more motivated now many, many a startup entrepreneurs think that's the only tool they have and I think it's because they see the you know, the big guys, the big advertisers spending so much money on ads, right? But remember the kind of people who are spending lots of money on ads thes air generally companies that are selling hard to differentiate goods right in commodity markets so this insurance company versus that insurance company are they really that different? I don't know this sugar water drink versus that sugar, water, drink or gasoline is this brand is very hard to differentiate and they're ubiquitous right? Coke can't make their products any easier to get to their everywhere they can't increase ability anymore it's always within arm's reach basically and so the on ly tool marks tool kit left is increasing user motivation, but we a startup entrepreneurs, we don't have that kind of luxury. We don't have that kind of money to boost user motivation, so the first place to start is always with ability we always want to move ability before motivation make the experience as easy to dio first okay, so let's make this concrete here with another case study let's take a look at twitter how many of you are frequent twitter users? Do we have a few twitter users? Okay, about half of you let's take a look at how twitter has evolved their product over the years considering what we just learned about motivation, ability and trigger so take a look at twitter's landing page here, their home page back in two thousand nine here it is in two thousand ten and here it is two thousand fifteen what do you see that's different what what? Come what jumps out at you between the difference of two thousand fifteen and two thousand and nine what's different use for acceptance you know about the page what do you say on the page? There's? More of a product concept look, they're more of a concept local on the moor of were all using it together. Okay, alright there's also a lot more stuff on that page, right? Like, look at how which many things are going on this page versus this page, right there's, much less actually happening on this page in terms of ah buttons I mean let's, let's compare here buttons for a second so what was the trigger that would take you to a different page and tell you all about what and why was the trigger and how was the trigger and watching videos a trigger inside out the trigger click here is a trigger click here is a trigger and get started joins trigger eyes a ton of cognitive load, that's a ton of thinking that the user has to do to figure it out. Figure out what the heck you want them new on this page. And speaking of in all three examples, all three examples what does twitter want people to do on this page? What's the intended behavior sign in or sign up that's always been the intended behavior and what twitter figured out wass by clearing the cognitive clutter by making it easier for the user to figure out what it is you want them to dio twitter could increase conversion and start sending people through the four steps of their hook. Now I always get this question I'm sure somebody out there is thinking is, well, look, you know, that's, not really fair, because near, you know, back in two thousand nine, nobody knew, right? Nobody knew what twitter was about didn't twitter have to explain to people and show them a video and tell them what? Why, how and all that stuff, right? No, they didn't and here's why? By talking to people for when I was researching my book by talking to people who actually built this page and watch it evolve over the years. What they told me was that users never lacked motivation that even back in two thousand nine remember, nobody came twitter by mistake. Nobody typed in t w t r dot com it's that oops what's this right that happened. Never people had heard about it from a friend. They read about it somewhere. Oprah told them about it. They had tons of motivation. So all twitter had to do was to remove the friction was to make it easier to do the intended behavior and now they could start sending people through their hook. So the lesson here is it. Hey, everybody, build the landing page just like twitter that's, not the lesson that's a short side listen, the lesson here is too strongly. Consider what's in your users way what's keeping the user from taking the intended behavior in every single step, every single click every single action you want the user to dio what's in their way. And how can you remove as many of those steps as possible?

Class Description

Customers who come back save you time and money. You don’t have to expend as much energy attracting them – they already know you and what you do – and they are a more predictable source of revenue. Learn the science of creating a repeat customer in Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products.

Nir is a writer and thinker whose primary focus is helping businesses unlock the power of habits. In this class, he’ll teach you how to build products and experiences that are inherently “sticky.” 

You’ll learn:

  • The psychology of triggers and how to build them into your product/service
  • How to use variable rewards to increase engagement
  • The stages of habit formation and how to optimize them for better retention

Nir will teach you how habits develop and he’ll show you how to apply those insights to your business – no matter what kind of service or products you sell. You’ll also learn about the common design patterns of habit-forming products.

If you want to lower the cost of doing business by increasing the number of repeat customers you work with, don’t miss Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nir Eyal - Hooked Workbook.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

The information presented by Nir was excellent and pertinent to today's evolution of business development and success. This was beyond my expectation. There was great material that was stimulating and engaging.

Jason Casher

Loved it! Was thorough and gave a strong sense of direction, as well as clear methods to check to see if you are on right track.


Nir Eyal is great! Insightful, interesting course on how habits are created, established and reinforced.