introduction to Hooked
The book “Hooked” by Ryan Hoover examines the psychology of habit-forming products and offers a framework, known as the Hook Model, for developing products that can cause users to form habits. The book is broken down into four sections: the first introduces the idea of habit-forming products and the Hook Model, while the second, third, and fourth sections go into greater detail about each of the four steps of the Hook Model.
The four steps of the Hook Model are the trigger, the action, the variable reward, and the investment. The cue that prompts the user to act is known as a trigger, and it can be internal or external. The action should be as simple and frictionless as possible because it is the course of action the user takes in response to the trigger. The variable reward, which refers to the variable and erratic pleasure the user experiences as a result of the action, is essential for forming habits because it maintains the user’s interest in the product.
The user’s effort in the product creates a sense of ownership and raises the likelihood that they will use it again in the future. This is the final component of investment.
The author discusses how popular habit-forming products like Facebook and Twitter use the Hook Model to form habits in their users throughout the course of the book. He also talks about the moral ramifications of designing habit-forming products and the obligation that product designers have to guarantee that their creations are used in a constructive and advantageous manner.
Overall, “Hooked” is a thorough and perceptive book that offers useful insights into the psychology of habit formation and the techniques that product creators can employ to create effective and engaging products.
Hooked first season: Trigger
A trigger is the behavior’s actuator, or the engine’s spark plug. There are two categories of triggers: internal and external. A habit-forming product first alerts users through an external trigger, such as an email, a website link, or a phone app icon.
Consider Barbra, a young woman in Pennsylvania, who by chance comes across a family member’s photo from a remote area of the state in her Facebook newsfeed. She clicks because the external trigger’s call to action piques her interest and she is planning a trip there with her brother Johnny. Users start to develop associations with internal triggers, which attach to pre-existing behaviors and emotions, by cycling through successive hooks.
The new habit becomes ingrained in users’ daily routines when they begin to automatically cue their subsequent behavior. Over time, Barbra has come to connect her need for social connection with Facebook.
Hooked second season: Action
The trigger is followed by the action, which is the behavior carried out in anticipation of a reward. Barbra visits Pinterest, a “pinboard-style photo-sharing” website, by simply clicking on the intriguing photo in her newsfeed.
This stage of the hook, as it is described in chapter three, reveals how products influence particular user actions by drawing on the science and art of usability design. Businesses use the ease of performing an action and the psychological motivation to do it as two fundamental pulleys of human behavior to raise the likelihood that an action will be taken.
Barbra clicks on the picture, and after she does so, she is stunned by what she next notices.
Hooked third season: Variable Reward
The Hook Model differs from a straightforward feedback loop due to the hook’s capacity to arouse desire. We are surrounded by feedback loops, but predictable ones do not arouse desire. You don’t have to open the fridge door repeatedly because you expect the light to come on when you do, so you don’t. But when you throw in some variation, like a different treat appearing in your fridge mysteriously each time you open it, intrigue is born.
One of the most effective methods businesses use to entice users is variable rewards; chapter four goes into more detail on them. Dopamine levels rise when the brain anticipates receiving a reward, according to research. Variability increases the impact, producing a focused state that activates the parts of the brain associated with desire and wanting while deactivating the parts linked to reason and judgment. Slot machines and lotteries are traditional examples, but variable rewards are also common in many other habit-forming products.
When Barbra visits Pinterest, she is presented with a plethora of other glittering items in addition to the image she was looking for. She is generally interested in the pictures, which include things to see on her upcoming trip to rural Pennsylvania, but she also notices other things. Her brain’s dopamine system is excited by the stimulating contrast of important and unimportant, alluring and unassuming, and beautiful and ordinary because it holds the promise of reward. She is now spending more time on Pinterest looking for the next fantastic discovery. Before she knows it, she has scrolled for 45 minutes.
Hooked forth season: Investment
The user works a little in the final stage of the Hook Model. The likelihood that the user will go through the hook cycle again after the investment phase increases. The user makes an investment when they devote time, information, effort, social capital, or money to the good or service.
The investment phase, however, doesn’t involve users pulling out their cash and carrying on with their day. Instead, the investment suggests a move that enhances the service for the subsequent round. Users invest in their experience by inviting friends, expressing preferences, creating virtual assets, and learning how to use new features. With each iteration of the hook cycle, these commitments can be used to make the trigger more interesting, the action simpler, and the reward more exciting.
Barbra develops a desire to keep the things she finds delightful as she leisurely scrolls through the Pinterest treasure trove. She will provide the website with information about her preferences by gathering items. She will soon follow, pin, re-pin, and make other investments, all of which will strengthen her ties to the platform and position her for potential loops through the hook in the future.
4 reasons you should read Hooked as a product manager or UX designer
A product manager or UX designer should read “Hooked” by Ryan Hoover for a number of reasons:
- Understanding the psychology of habit formation: The book gives readers a thorough understanding of how and why habits are formed, as well as how to use this knowledge to develop products that encourage the formation of new ones. For product managers and UX designers to build engaging products that users will keep coming back to, they need to have this understanding.
Understanding the Hook Model framework will help you create habit-forming products in a clear and practical manner. Product managers and UX designers can create products that are optimized for user engagement and retention by comprehending each step of the Hook Model.
Real-world examples: The book examines how popular habit-forming products like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram use the Hook Model to form habits in their users. It gives examples from the real world of these products. For product managers and UX designers looking to develop their own successful products, this offers helpful insights and inspiration.
- The book also discusses the moral ramifications of developing habit-forming products and the obligation that product designers have to guarantee that their creations are used in a constructive and advantageous manner. For product managers and UX designers who want to develop products that are not only engaging but also morally and responsibly, this is a crucial factor to take into account.