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The Hook Model for designing habit-forming products is not frequently mentioned in UX lectures.

The model seems to be about creating "habits forming products".

How necessary this model, really, if products are already designed to meet people's needs?

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  • I assume this is something based on Nir Eyal's book?
    – Matt Obee
    Jun 25, 2015 at 15:21
  • Yes, exactly, Matt
    – Franco
    Jun 26, 2015 at 0:02
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    The presentation slides look like waffle to me (aka 'pop psychology) Its difficult to comment on whether the book actually contains any deeper treatment of pyschology without reading it.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:54

3 Answers 3

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Usability is not the same as habit-forming

The Hook Model is about building products that are habit forming. That is different from building products which satisfy user needs.

For example, a toilet brush has been designed carefully to satisfy user needs (for cleaning toilets)...

toilet brush

...but this product is not habit forming because users don't need to, or want to use the toilet brush habitually.

On the other hand, a product like the Fitbit does satisfy both user needs and the Hook Model because it provides users with a trigger to check the watch, a sense of reward for interacting with the product ("you've walked 5 miles today!"), and a virtuous cycle of behavior which causes the user to want to keep using/checking the watch:

fitbit

The conceptual difference between user needs and habit formation is important for designers to understand:

  • Not all products can be habit-forming even with the best design.
  • Habit-forming products benefit from being designed with the Hook Model or with other behavioral models, because user needs alone usually do not capture the behavioral user experience needed for a product to become habit forming.
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  • I got the idea. However, there is a little detail that bothers me to understand fully. As an example you have used a not digital product which for me at least makes an unfair comparison, since I feel those type of products wouldn't likely have a Hooked model at all, It was my mistake not narrowing down the question to only digital products. On digital products, should we always design products that are habit forming?
    – Franco
    Jun 26, 2015 at 6:06
  • @Franco the same applies to digital products. Think of the interface for an malware removal (not detection) utility, or a photographic EXIF removal tool. These digital products must be designed to be usable, but they shouldn't be designed to be habit forming because their fundamental usage is only occasional in nature so the basic assumption of habitual use doesn't work.
    – tohster
    Jun 26, 2015 at 7:11
  • I see the point, agreed. Is the designer's work to identify if certain app is able to be transformed into habit forming or not.
    – Franco
    Jun 29, 2015 at 10:14
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I've enjoyed both the book and workshop by Nir Eyal on creating habit forming products. The Trigger-Loop model has some great uses that could complement your UX toolkit.

I think that the Hooked model is not often mentioned in UX lectures because that model is more aligned with strategic product conception and planning, while UX, in general, is perceived as more of a tactical - execution discipline.

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  • How far is UX from strategic product conception and planning?
    – Franco
    Jul 9, 2015 at 2:14
  • Hey @Franco. At the end of the day, you, the designer/product manager will decide how strategically oriented your UX design is. For some industries real sustainable competitive advantage could be achieved through innovative and unique UX design, but for many industries this is not the case - and it's for those industries that UX design is more of a tactical thing, an execution oriented process. Which is the case for your industry?
    – Gil Tov Ly
    Jul 12, 2015 at 6:57
  • From what you say, I would say where I work is being tactical so far, we all here are quite young at this place, thanks @Gil Tov Ly
    – Franco
    Jul 15, 2015 at 1:47
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It's a great model that is backed up by real evidence and research.

However, the model itself hasn't (to my knowledge) been scientifically tested and the Hook model itself hasn't undergone a peer review like published scientific papers would have.

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  • 2
    Welcome to UX.stackexchange. You may want to elaborate on your answer. How can something be backed up by real research and yet have not been scientifically tested?
    – Mayo
    Jun 25, 2015 at 21:12
  • The Hooked model is, as I understand it, a practical model based on a rather scientific literature study (done by Nir Eyal at Stanford where he teachers?)
    – tox
    May 1, 2016 at 10:02

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