I’m reading this amazing book – about the Hook Cycle – called:
Hooked: How to build habit forming products
by: Nir Eyal
I believe anyone who is creating a product or a service needs to read it at least once. It might help you save a considerable amount of resources (time and money).
Basically it says: to build a habit forming product you have to create an effective Hook Cycle. A Hook Cycle is made of four steps:
Lets take a mobile app as an example and see how these steps work there.
Hook Cycle for a mobile app
Via trigger step, you get your potential visitor to have a look at your product. Consider the trigger as a very important gateway to your success. Simply put if your -external- trigger is good enough people will install the app. If it doesn’t interest them, they’d simply move on.Imagine there are two similar apps which deliver the need you are looking for. Lets say they both have similar ranks and reviews as well. But one of them has an eye catching logo and screen shots. Plus it has a nice and short (less than 90 seconds) promo video. Normally we tend to click on the visually better presented app. This is how a good trigger works in a hook cycle.
Now the app is in their device, so they are ready to take action. From UX perspective it is important to design the product easy to use. We must ask this critical question in each step of user flow: Is doing simpler than thinking?
In other words if using a mobile app requires too much thinking and there are complicated tasks at each corner, the users will loos their motivation and break out of the hook cycle right at at the action phase.
Assuming that we have a easy to follow user flow and users completed the required action, we need to continue holding their attention to our product by rewarding them. Over 50% of users, after they got the results that they took action for, will move on and won’t use the app till next time they need it. But if we reward them – for the action they took – a returning customer rate jumps from 50% up to 75%. In a mobile game, daily reward is a good example of reward cycle.
The last step is investment. This is totally up to the user. In fact if previous three steps keeps the users in your product, chances are they will complete the investment phase subconsciously. The investment usually are in the form of time, money or a mix of both. When you see some mobile games are so addictive that they makes users spend a few minutes (hours?) per day to play them, look closely and see if you can find the hook cycle in that game. And if you see people spend money (on a regular basis) to buy IAP (In App Products) then that application or games deserves a fair amount of time to be studied, analysed and all Hook Cycle features provided there to be learned.