Hooked by Nir Eyal - Book Notes, Summary, Review

Book-Notes
Written: March 19, 2021
Reading Time: 14 mins

Hooked by Nir Eyal outlines The Hook Model, a methodology for building habit forming products that improve a user’s life in some way.

I found this to be a very interesting and informative book with lots of new concepts and terms related to marketing and product design.

There’s something here for those working in the world of product design as well as outside observers.

Read This Book On Amazon


Who Should Read This Book?

I would recommend this book to designers and to people working in product creation.

For these people, there is a lot of advice about how to build products and services that fit a user’s needs which in turn will result in the frequent use of that product or service.

I would also recommend this book to people interested in the world of product design and marketing.

As someone who isn’t very knowledgeable on marketing and marketing tactics, I learned a lot about how these tactics can be used in negative ways.

Terms like CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) and viral cycle time were new to me and definitely rubbed me up the wrong way.


How This Book Changed Me

By reading this book through the eyes of a consumer, I learned a lot about the potential negative ways products or services can be designed to make them addictive to users.

I’m hoping this will help me to be more mindful of how I use apps, products, and services in the future.

As I mentioned above, terms like Customer Lifetime Value sounded very cold and unfeeling to me. I don’t like the idea of being referred to as a number or a value to some big company.

With that in mind, I’ll definitely be paying more attention to how things are designed to see if the Hook Model is being used in positive or negative ways to influence me.

As a web designer / UI designer, I learned a lot about the benefits of applying the Hook model when designing apps.

Making use of this model can be a force for good to ultimately improve a user’s life.


My Top 3 Quotes That Resonated With Me

“Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are two key motivators in all species. When we feel discomfort, we seek to escape the uncomfortable sensation.” p29

“The Hook Model is designed to connect the user’s problem with the designer’s solution frequently enough to form a habit. It is a framework for building products that solve user needs through long-term” p115

“Building a habit-forming product is an iterative process and requires user behavior analysis and continuous experimentation”. p134


Book Notes

Introduction

  1. Trigger
    • This is the thing that sparks a user’s behavior. It’s like the spark plug in an engine.
    • Triggers can be internal and external
    • Internal triggers are things inside of the person like motivations, mental models etc.
    • External triggers are things in the world that alert people
  2. Action
    • This is the behavior that’s done in anticipation of a reward.
    • If the action is easy to do and holds enough motivation for a user, they’ll be more likely to perform that action.
  3. Variable Reward
    • A reward awaits the user when they perform an action. Whether it be seeing the latest updates on Twitter or the newest YouTube video from our favorite channel.
    • When we’re awaiting the reward, our levels of dopamine surge as we anticipate it.
    • Over time, this might get a bit predictable; that’s where the variable reward comes in. When the reward is varied, we don’t know exactly what to expect. This increases our dopamine levels even further increasing our desire for the reward.
  4. Investment
    • When a user invests time, money, effort, data into a product or service, they’re more likely to repeatedly use it and less likely to switch to an alternative.
    • It ensures that the user will pass through the Hook cycle repeatedly.
    • An investment is made by the user to make the product or service better the next time they use it.

1 The Habit Zone

“Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are two key motivators in all species. When we feel discomfort, we seek to escape the uncomfortable sensation.” p29

2 Trigger

3 Action

4 Variable Reward

“In a phenomenon called “experience-taking,” researchers have shown that people who read a story about a character actually feel what the protagonist is feeling. As we step into the character’s shoes we experience his or her motivations — including the search for rewards of the tribe, hunt and self. We empathize with characters because they are driven by the same things that drive us.” p90

5 Investment

6 What Are You Going To Do With This?

“The Hook Model is designed to connect the user’s problem with the designer’s solution frequently enough to form a habit. It is a framework for building products that solve user needs through long-term” p115

The Five fundamental questions for building effective hooks:

  1. What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? (Internal Trigger)
  2. What brings users to your service? (External Trigger)
  3. What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? (Action)
  4. Are users fulfilled by the reward, yet left wanting more? (Variable Reward)
  5. What “bit of work” do users invest in your product? Does it load the next trigger and store value to improve the product with use? (Investment)
    • The ability to change people’s behaviors can be a force for good but it can also be used in negative ways. This is important to consider and it’s the responsibility of the creators to use this responsibly.
    • One way to understand your business model and how it fits in with the Hook Model is with the Manipulation Matrix.
    • Ask yourself: “Would I use the product myself?” and “will the product help users materially improve their lives?”

The Manipulation Matrix:

8 Habit Testing

“Building a habit-forming product is an iterative process and requires user behavior analysis and continuous experimentation”. p134

  1. Identify
    • Who are the product’s habitual users?
    • Define the target user.
    • Use research data to identify this.
  2. Codify
    • Determine the steps those users take when interacting with your product.
    • You’re looking for the habit path, the user journey, the user story.
    • Identify the triggers that “hook” the user.
  3. Modify
    • Based on what you’ve learned from the first 2 steps, update your product to make it more engaging and useful to your audience.

Design Insight

A weekly newsletter for creatives with a focus on design. Learn to think like a designer in less than 5 mins a week with curated articles, resources, tools, and insights. Released every Friday to over 180 creators.

I'm Interested!