1. Internal Trigger – what do users really want?
  2. External Trigger – what brings them to the service?
  3. Action – Simplest action users take in anticipation of reward (make it easy)
  4. Variable Reward – are users fulfilled by reward and left wanting more?
  5. Investment – do they invest a bit of time and effort? load the next trigger? store value to improve service?

– external/internal
– successive hooks make it a habit – internal trigger
– email or notification – external
– simple action (ie clicking)
– the art of usability design
– important: ease of action and psychological motivation to do it
Variable reward
– needs to create craving / intrigue (ie magically new food in fridge)
– user does a bit of work
– increases the likelihood of coming back
– puts something into product
  • time
  • data
  • effort
  • social capital
  • money
– something that improves next interaction
  • inviting friends
  • stating preferences
  • building virtual assets
  • learning to use features
Switching cost
– relearning (keyboard QWERTY)
– info storing value (Instagram repository of pics, Gmail emails)
Evernote – smile graph, once users use the service for a year they start signing up and start using it more as you’ve invested and formed a habit
Amazon – runs competitors ads on its website and allows you to buy it – one stop shop and it becomes a habit which is trustworthy price comparison
Google – used to it and habit even though Bings the same
Habit Zone
Frequency of usage x Perceived utility

Vitamin vs Painkiller
Solve a problem!
Painkiller – solves obvious need, specific pain, quantifiable market, functional needs
Vitamin – appeal to customers’ emotional needs
A habit is when not doing an action causes a bit of pain
Pain = more like an itch not pain, manifestation in mind that causes discomfort until resolved
Habit forming tech is both – using tech to scratch an itch and is faster satisfaction than ignoring the itch. Once you depend on a tool, nothing else will do
Habit = can be healthy or unhealthy shortcuts
Addiction = self-destructive compulsion

  1. Paid Triggers – AdWords
  2. Earned – press mentions, media, videos, app placement
  3. Relationship – notifications, someone telling you about it
  4. Owned – with consent of user – download app, subscribe newsletter,
– couple with thought/emotion
– solve users pain by creating an association between product and source of relief
What do users think before and during usage? what emotions? why? what pain does it relief?
Ask 5 Why’s? will get down to core

  1. sufficient motivation
  2. ability to complete desired action
  3. trigger must be present
Behaviour = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
  1. seek pleasure, avoid pain
  2. seek hope, avoid fear
  3. seek social acceptance, avoid rejection
reduce # of steps in the process
Optimise for scarcest of below at time of action
  1. Time – shorter
  2. Money – cheaper
  3. Physical – easier
  4. Brain – focus
  5. Social deviance – acceptance of behaviour by others
  6. Non-routine – matches or disrupts routine
– Scarcity – the less the more you want it
– Framing – put context around it (price, surroundings)
– Anchoring – high low
– Endowed Progress Effect – loyalty cards with more stamps more valuable (2/10 better than 0/8)

Variable rewards 
– Novelty sparks curiosity
– what makes us happy is the anticipation of the reward
  1. Tribe – accepted, attractive, important, included – social reinforcement (LOL – honour points)
  2. Hunt – pursuit of resources (endless scrolling, slot machines)
  3. Self – intrinsic motivation, completion (puzzle, WOW level progression, weapon possession)
– Mohalo paid to answers on questions – FAIL
– Quota upvotes and recognition – SUCCESS
don’t force stuff on users, tell them “but you’re free to choose” counteracts instant reaction of rejection
Finite Variability – becomes less engaging as it becomes predictable (uncertainty and mystery needed)
Infinite variability – WOW – play with others in endless world with endless possibilities

the more you time and effort you invest the more you like it
if you do it yourself you like it even more (IKEA effect – putting it together yourself)
– past experiences determine future (first ask for a small sign, 2 weeks later big sign more likely)
Cognitive Dissonance
– irrational manipulation of how you see the world (if can’t get a job, it’s actually crap; start liking beer and spicy food as others like it)
– change attitude and belief to adapt even if reasons are from others
Storing Value
  1. Content – more content builds out library/timeline/portfolio {collection of memories and experiences makes harder to leave}
  2. Data – personal info
  4. Reputation
  5. Skill – once you’re good at it, keep using

Second Cycle Trigger
Use info from first cycle
Habit Testing
  1. Identify – assume and quantify what a habitual user is (need at least 5% – good start)
  2. Codify – understand habit path – series of similar actions shared by loyal users
  3. Modify – modify to let all users follow that path
Habit Opportunities
– Don’t think about what problem to solve, but what problem you would like others to solve for you
– From niche/toy to mass market (plane, FB, Airbnb – Vitamin to painkiller)
– Tech innovation – new system / possibilities
– Interface Change – camera on smartphone Instagram, Google glass, VR, smartwatches