Friday, March 04, 2022

"Hooked" - Book Review and Summary

The book "Hooked," by Nir Eyal, applies psychology to website/app design to explain how successful products create unprompted user engagement - aka habits - where users visit a website/app repeatedly on their own.

(I'll simply use "app" from now on for "website/app.")

If you find that you regularly open an app - like FacebookYoutube, or Email - out of habit, that app has successfully "hooked" you. Why does that happen? If you're creating a product to be regularly used or want to use an app less, this book will help you.

Eyal identified a 4-step process, called the Hooked Model, that apps use to encourage users to repeatedly return. The book describes each step and why they work. I enjoy books that explain behavior with psychology. Plus, I'm building a website, so I was interested in seeing what parts I could incorporate.

It also helped me see when other apps use the Hooked Model. For example, I use a journaling app called Day One, and they do all of these steps, which has helped me journal regularly. It also explains why some apps, like Duolingo, feel pushy (I go on a mini-rant in the summary section).

One of Eyal's suggestions I'll use right away is to not just look at how people use my website (through usability testing). But to also create a user narrative that clearly describes the person's desires, emotions, and context when they start using the website. And it's not just making it up on my own, but using good, ol' fashion marketing research where you interview people, asking "why" at least 5 times to get to an emotional motivation.

Again, I highly recommend the book to anyone building an app.

The rest of this post contains my notes and quotes from the book. I recommend reading/listening to the book first and using the summary below for future reference. Or, read below as a teaser to see if you'd like it.