Establish hooks to provide value and help people form healthy habits. The Hook Model:. External Trigger. Email, links, app icon. Action. Behavior done in anticipation of a reward. Variable Reward. Predictable rewards aren't intriguing. Investment. User puts something into the product: time, data, effort, social capital, money. Improves the experience for the next go-around. Inviting friends, stating preferences, building virtual assets, learning to use new features. Internal Trigger. Build products to help people do the things they already want to do, but for the lack of a solution, don't do. Technology can enhance lives to improve relationships, make us smarter, and increase productivity. Connect the user's problem to a solution frequently enough to form a habit. Hooked users become brand evangelists. “Are you building a vitamin or painkiller?“. Painkillers solve an obvious need, relieving a specific pain, and often have quantifiable markets. Vitamins do not necessarily solve an obvious pain point. Instead, they appeal to users' emotional rather than functional needs. Habit-forming technologies are both a painkiller and a vitamin. They offer nice-to-have vitamins, but once the habit is established, they soothe pain. External triggers are embedded with information, which tells the user what to do next. Too many choices or irrelevant options can cause hesitation, confusion, or worse—abandonment. Reducing the thinking required to take the next action increases the likelihood of the desired behavior occurring unconsciously. External triggers:. Paid triggers. Advertising, search engine marketing, and other paid channels are commonly used to get users' attention and prompt them to act. Because paying for reengagement is unsustainable for most business models, companies generally use paid triggers to acquire new users and then leverage other triggers to bring them back. Earned triggers. Earned triggers are free in that they cannot be bought directly, but they often require investment in the form of time spent on public and media relations. Relationship triggers. One person telling others about a product or service can be a highly effective external trigger for action. Build an engaged user base that is enthusiastic about sharing the benefits of the product with others. Owned triggers. Consume a piece of real estate in the user's environment. When a product becomes tightly coupled with a thought, an emotion, or a preexisting routine, it leverages an internal trigger. Product designers must know their user's internal triggers—that is, the pain they seek to solve. The ultimate goal of a habit-forming product is to solve the user's pain by creating an association so that the user identifies the company's product or service as the source of relief. The company must identify the particular frustration or pain point in emotional terms, rather than product features. “If you want to build a product that is relevant to folks, you need to put yourself in their shoes and you need to write a story from their side. So, we spend a lot of time writing what's called user narratives. If you do that story well, then all of the prioritization, all of the product, all of the design and all the coordination that you need to do with these products just falls out naturally because you can edit the story and everyone can relate to the story from all levels of the organization, engineers to operations to support to designers to the business side of the house.“ - Jack Dorsey. If the user does not take action, the trigger is useless. To initiate action, doing must be easier than thinking. Understand the reason people use a product or service. Lay out the steps the customer must take to get the job done. Once the series of tasks from intention to outcome is understood, simply start removing steps until you reach the simplest possible process. Any technology or product that significantly reduces the steps to complete a task will enjoy high adoption rates by the people it assists. Easier equals better. The six elements of simplicity:. Time (how long it takes to complete an action). Money (the fiscal cost of taking an action). Physical effort (the amount of labor involved in taking the action). Brain cycles (the level of mental effort and focus required to take an action). Social deviance (how accepted the behavior is by others). Non-routine (how much the action matches or disrupts existing routines). To increase the likelihood that a behavior will occur, focus on simplicity as a function of the user's scarcest resource at that moment. Identify what the user is missing. What is making it difficult for the user to accomplish the desired action? For companies building technology solutions, the greatest return on investment generally comes from increasing a product's ease of use. Variable rewards come in three types:. The tribe:. Social rewards, driven by our connectedness with other people. Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attracted, important, and included. The hunt. The self. To change behavior, products must ensure the users feel in control. Investments are about the anticipation of longer-term rewards, not immediate gratification. 5 fundamental questions for building effective hooks:. What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? What brings users to your service? What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? Are users fulfilled by the reward yet left wanting more? 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?