How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Many products are built to provide solutions for people who want to improve their daily routines or lifestyle. However, often times the product fails due to poor design. Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? It all comes down to the science of habit. 

Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Explains. 

Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. He founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Stanford. Nir is also an advisor to several Bay area start-ups, venture capitalists, and incubators. He also enjoys blogging at

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder – not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

The Hooked Model

In this event, Nir talked about a 4 step process called the Hooked Model. Nir Eyal shared a framework that gives entrepreneurs and product designers a new way for thinking of the necessary components in influencing user behavior. He discussed the tactics that companies like Facebook and Twitter use to bring users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging. He gave practical insights that create user habits that stick and actionable steps for building products that people love.

Nir Eyal

Bullet points:

  • Habit means a behavior done with little or no conscious thought.
  • The problem in building products is not that people get addicted to them but that they don’t give a sh*t.
  • All habit-forming products have a thing called “hook” embedded to the user experience.
  • The hook phases are:
    • Trigger
    • Action
    • Reward
    • Investment
  • Through successful cycle through the hooks that are preferences and tastes are formed, and the habits take hold.
  • There are two types of triggers;
    • External: tells the user what to do next inside the trigger).
    • Internal: tells the user what to do next, but the information what to do is not in the trigger. It’s stored in as a memory (often as a negative emotion).
  • The function of every product is to modulate our mood to make us feel something different.
  • Action phase: the simplest behavior done in an anticipation of a reward.
  • Any human behavior follows the next equation: b=m+a+t where b stands for behavior, “m” for motivation, a for ability and “t” for trigger.
  • In the reward phase, the user’s itch is scratched when they get what they came for. Our reward system activates with anticipation and calms when we get what we want.
  • In the investment phase, the user puts something into the product in anticipation of a reward. They invest in it for a future benefit. 

Enjoyed the article? You may like this too: