Designing for habits

3.October.12

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Welcome to the experiment

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What kind of advice should you listen to?
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“Build something people want.”
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Some prerequisites

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1. A vision

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2. A business model

Source: Alex Osterwalder, Business Model Generation

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3. A process

Source: Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

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4. A moral compass

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Me

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How generate better hypotheses?
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Patterns

NirAndFar.com

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“OMG businesses”

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Vitamins or painkillers?

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Selling painkillers

- Obvious need - stop pain - Quantifiable market - Monetizable

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Selling vitamins

- Emotional need, not efficacy - “Makes me feel good knowing...” - Unknown market

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Vitamins or painkillers?

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Habit when not doing causes pain.
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Habit-forming technology
Pleasure seeking Pain alleviation

Vitamin

Painkiller
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Creating pain? (more of an itch)
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Where this fits
• If your business model requires regular,
unprompted interaction. hypotheses to test.

• A design pattern to help you form better • Increase odds of success.
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Today’s deliverable
• 3 testable hypotheses designed to increase
user engagement.

• Anything else?
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Why habits?

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Helping people do what they want to do.

pref· er· ence
/ˈpref(ə)rəns/ Noun, Def: A greater liking for one alternative over another or others.
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be· hav· ior
/biˈhāvyər/ Noun, Def: The way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus.
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rou· tine
/ro͞oˈtēn/ Noun, Def: A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.
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hab· it
/ˈhabit/ Noun, Def: An behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary, without cognition.
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ad· dic· tion
/əˈdikSHən/ Noun, Def: A persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance.
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Are customer habits good for business?
• Higher life-time value • Greater price inelasticity, can charge more • Word-of-mouth brings down cost of
acquisition = Higher ROI
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Why is this graph “smiling”?

Source: Inc. magazine, Dec. 2011

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StackOverflow
• Largest technical
QA site

• Alexa rank 93 • 5,000 questions are
answered per day

• FT Staff: 66
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Holding on to customers by forming habits

Source: Amy Jo Kim, “Community Building on the Web”

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To build habits need...

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Au· to· ma· ta· city
Noun, Def: The ability to do things without occupying the mind with low-level details, allowing it to become an automatic response pattern.
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What is automaticity good for?
• Ability to learn • Helps us decide • Saves energy • Allows multitasking
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Decisions are work
• • •
Prisoners appearing for parole hearings early in the morning granted parole 70% of the time. However, those appearing late in the day, when judges were tired, paroled less than 10% of the time. So, making more decisions through habit instead of logic, can leave more resources for important decisions
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Source: Levav and Danziger, 2011

How to build automaticity?
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Frequency and utility

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How do we get users to come back?
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Building desire through engagement
Low engagement High engagement

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The Desire Engine

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Remember: A TARI
A - A Desire Engine has 4 parts: T - Trigger A - Action R - Reward I - Investment
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In summary
• Habits can be good for business. • Habits require automaticity - action
without cognition. reserve.”

• Leaves us with more “decision making • Creating automaticity is a function of utility
and frequency.

• Frequency from creating desire.

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Your turn
• Does your business model require habits? • How often do you expect users to engage? • What’s your hook? What makes your
product a habit?
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Triggers

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Habits aren’t created, they are built upon

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Triggers
External Alarms Calls-to-action Emails Stores Authority What to do next is in the trigger Internal Emotions Routines Situations Places People What to do next is in the user’s head NIR EYAL
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External triggers
• Owned - Emails, SMS, notifications.. • Paid - SEM, ads.. • Earned - PR, free media.. • Relationships - Word of mouth, affinity
groups..
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Example: Pharma
External Internal

What to do next is in the trigger (Designer controls)

What to do next is in the user’s head NIR EYAL

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Negative emotions are powerful internal triggers
Dissatisfied Indecisive Lost Tense Fatigued Inferior Fear of loss Bored Lonesome Confused Powerless Discouraged
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Internally triggered technologies
When I feel... Lonely Hungry Unsure Anxious Lost Mentally fatigued ... I use Facebook Yelp Google Email GPS ESPN, Glam
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Emotional triggers Shiv x-framework
Content Excited

Bored

Stressed

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People with depression check email more.

Source: Kotikalapudi et al 2012, Associating Depressive Symptoms in College Students with Internet Usage Using Real Internet Data

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Habits form from frequent problem/solution fit.
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To find the problem, know the narrative
• Need to find the existing behavior to
attach to. before.

• Find the behavior that occurs just • “Every time you (verb), use (product).”
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Jack Dorsey on narratives

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The “Instagram moment”

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Instagram triggers
External - FB and Twitter - App notifications Internal - Fear of loosing the moment . . . - Bored, lonesome, curious...
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Your turn ...
• What does your user really want? • Ask “why” until you get to “because I
want to feel...”

• Note: You need to test this in the field. Use

your best guess for now, but need to validate.
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Build a narrative
• Now that we know “why” • Who is the user? • Where are they? • What are they doing right before they
use your product?

• What is the internal trigger? • “Every time you (verb), use ..”

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Consistent messaging
• Does your external trigger communicate
“what it’s for?”

• Does it connect with the internal trigger?
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Messaging

• What’s your: “What’s it for?”
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Actions

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Typical actions online
• Log-In (Facebook, Wordpress) • Search (Google, Kayak,Yelp) • Open (Twitter, SMS, email) • Scroll (Pinterest, Instagram) • Play (Farmville, other games) • Others?

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when doing < thinking = action
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Fogg Behavior Model B = m.a.t.
motivation triggers

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Fogg Behavior Model B = m.a.t.
motivation trigger (SUCCESS!) trigger (FAIL!) ability
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Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

mo· ti· va· tion
/mōtə vāSHən/ Noun, Def: The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal.
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Motivators of Behavior
Sensation Anticipation Social Cohesion Seek: Pleasure Hope Acceptance Avoid: Pain Fear Rejection

motivation

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

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a· bil· i· ty
/əˈbilitē/ Noun, Def: The capacity to do something

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How increase capacity to do something?

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Factors of ability
Time Money Physical effort Brain cycles Social deviance Non-routine

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Simplicity
“Simplicity is a function of your scarcest resource at that moment.” - BJ Fogg

Factors of ability
Time Money Physical effort Brain cycles Social deviance Non-routine
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Differ by person and context

What move first?

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Move ability before motivation
motivation

triggers

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Focus on ability and triggers before motivation

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Focus on ability and triggers before motivation

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Which has fewer calories?

Motivated people know healthier option

Source: (Chernov et al. 2011; Chandon & Wansink 2007)

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America the obese

2010

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Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control

Twitter homepage

2009

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Twitter homepage

2010

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Twitter homepage

2012

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The evolution of Twitter
2009 2010

2012

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Behaviors to actions with cross-functional teams
motivation = marketing triggers = interface design

ability = product

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Your turn
• What action follows your trigger? • Is it simple and well defined? • How many steps does your action take? • If multi-step, does each have a trigger for
what to do next?
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Increase ability
• Rate your estimate of your user’s ability to
do the key action

• 1 is easy, 10 is very hard • How can you increase ability by decreasing
the factors of ability?

• Time, Money, Physical effort, Brain cycles,
Social deviance or Non-routine
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• Rate your estimate of your user’s motivation
to do the key action

Increase motivation

• 1 is easy, 10 is very hard • Now plot ability and motivation • How can you increase motivation by
Seek: Pleasure Hope Acceptance Avoid: Pain Fear Rejection

decreasing the factors of motivation?

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Bi· as
/ˈbīəs/ Noun, Def: 1. A tendency or inclination; a prejudice 2. A lever to increase motivation or ability
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A well-studied bias

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Classical biases
• Rational • Can articulate, “I’d buy it if it were cheaper.” • Predictable (for the most part)
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Cognitive Biases
• Rational or irrational • Unable to articulate • Predictable
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Scarcity
• People value cookies
more in a nearly empty jar than in a full jar.

Source: Worchel, Lee, and Adewole (1975)

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Value attribution
• Wine actually

tastes better if you believe it’s more expensive

Source: Plassmann, O’Doherty. Shiv, and Rangel, 2008

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Remember this?

Source: (Chernov et al. 2011; Chandon & Wansink 2007)

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The halo effect

Source: (Chernov et al. 2011; Chandon & Wansink 2007)

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Anchoring
• We tend to rely too heavily on just one trait
of a decision.

• We overvalue things on sale

Jockey only!

3 for $29.50 5 for $34 NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com so, 6 for $44.25 Unit cost = $6.80 @nireyal Unit cost = $7.38

Completion
• Motivation
effect” increases the closer get to a goal

• 8 car wash, get one
free

• “Endowed progress

• 8 blank squares vs.
10 squares with 2 free punches completion rate
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• 82% higher
Source: Nunes and Drèze, The Endowed Progress Effect: How Artificial Advancement Increases Effort, 2006

Sequencing
• Tendency to

complete complex behavior if parsed into smaller steps

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Many more...
• Social proof, framing, reciprocity, relevance,
status quo, loss aversion, familiarity bias, regret aversion, peak-end effect, money proxy, authority bias ...

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Your turn
• Pick one of the “Mental Notes” cards. • How could you make use of a cognitive
biases to increase your action?

• Go for lots of crazy ideas
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Variable rewards

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The brain and rewards

Watch
Source: Olds and Milner, 1945

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Reward produces behavior
• What triggers brain’s reward system? • Probes or drugs • What stimulates the brain naturally?
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Dopamine triggers

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Were Olds and Milner stimulating pleasure? (not exactly)

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“I like pleasure spiked with pain, it’s my aeroplane”
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers

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Ann’s story
• Sufferers from
Parkinson’s

• Treatment includes
gambler

dopamine boosters

• Becomes a compulsive • Why?
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The promise of reward
• •
Dopamine system activated by anticipation of reward And dampened when reward achieved

Source: Knutson et al 2001

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To supercharge the “stress of desire” ... add variability.

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We crave predictability
• Variable rewards
drive us nuts

• Compulsion to make
sense of cause and effect drives the search

• Dopamine system
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Curious by nature

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“I can’t get no satisfaction”
- The Rolling Stones

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The search for rewards
the Tribe the Hunt the Self
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Search for Social Rewards
the Tribe
- Acceptance - Sex - Power - Empathetic joy
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Rewards of the tribe

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Rewards of the tribe

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Rewards of the tribe

“experience taking”

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Search for Resources
the Hunt
- Food - Money - Information

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Rewards of the hunt: search for resources

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Rewards of the hunt: search for information

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Dare you not to scroll
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Rewards of the hunt: search for resources

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Search for Sensation
the Self
- Mastery - Consistency - Competency - Purpose
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Rewards of the self: Search for competency and mastery

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Rewards of the self: Search for control

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Fish bowl technique
• • • • • • •
Addiction Recovery Study (Petry 2006) Patients earned opportunity to draw a ticket out of a bowl every time they passed a drug test. Half of the tickets said “Keep up the good work.” The rest won the patient a nominal prize worth $1 to $20 but one ticket was worth $100 prize. 83% of fish bowl patients stayed in treatment for full 12 weeks (vs 20% of standard-care patients). 80% of fish bowl patients passed all their drug tests (vs. 40% of standard-care patients). Fish bowl group less likely to relapse. Technique worked better than paying patients for passing
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Rewards Decay
• As rewards become predictable, they
become less novel
Finite Variability
- Single-player games - Consumption of media - Finishing a race

Infinite Variability
- Multi-player games - Creation of content - Communities - Running for pleasure or competition

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Who gets hooked?
• • • • •
Pathological gamblers and non-pathological placed in MRI. See images of win, lose, and “near-miss.” Pathological gamblers experienced more “excitement” from seeing win. Gamblers brain saw near-miss as near-win. Non-pathological experienced near-miss as near-loss. Unknown if gambler’s brain is different at birth or if caused by repeated exposure.

Source: Habib, 2010

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Variable reward levers
• Type (Tribe, Hunt, Self) • Frequency • Amplitude
Keep ‘em guessing
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Your turn
• • •
How could you use variable rewards? How can you add an element of mystery, the unknown, or surprise? Consider the search for rewards of the:

• • •

Tribe (social) Hunt (resources) Self (mastery, control)
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Brainstorm

Gut check
• Is the reward authentic and meaningful? • Does it satisfy the internal trigger? • Cull those that don’t meat the conditions
above?

• Are there opportunities to increase the
frequency and amplitude of rewards?
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Investments

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Investment
• Where user does a bit
of “work.”

• “Pays” with something

of value: time, money, social capital, effort, emotional commitment, personal data ...
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Investment
• Done in anticipation of future rewards • Makes next action more likely by: • Loading the trigger for next cycle • Changes preferences
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Pinterest (consumer)
T
Facebook, Twitter, WOM

A
Scroll
Boredom, curiosity, fatigue

I
Join

VR
Objects of desire (Hunt)
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Pinterest (curator)
T
Email notification

A
Log-in
Lonesome ...

I
Pin, Re-Pin, Like, Comment

VR
Communication (Tribe)
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Investment in Any.do
• Investment into the
product with time, data, and social capital

• Loads the next

external trigger and teaches the internal trigger
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Labor is love

The IKEA effect
Source: Dan Ariely, Upside of Irrationality

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People value their labor

• Value own work almost as much as an expert’s. • Even if other’s don’t.
Source: Ariely, Mochon and Norton, 2012

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Labor increases motivation
• People who pick • Assign greater
odds.
Source: Langer, 1975

lottery numbers more likely to play.

We value products that store our labor

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Value labor done for us

Source: Buell and Norton, 2011

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Others’ labor increases value too
• Search took same
time.

• People “seeing” the
work perceived more value.

Source: Buell and Norton, 2011

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As we invest, we endow and tend to overvalue.
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The endowment effect
• • • •
When chimps given juice bar and peanut butter, 50/50 preference split. When given PB first, 80% chose to keep rather than exchange. The “endowed” item was preferred Only worked for food
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Source: Brosnan et al 2007

Humans endow things
• • • •
Endowed mugs vs pens worth twice as much (Kahneman, Knetsch & Thaler,1990) Endowed final four tickets worth 14 times more (Carmon and Ariely, 2000) Employees worked harder to maintain a provisional bonus than a potential yet-to-beawarded prize (Hossain and List, 2010) Universal behavior across different populations and with different goods (Hoffman and Spitzer,1993) NIR EYAL including children (Harbaugh et al, 2001)

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Why do we endow?
• Improved bargaining position in bilateral
trades. If I act like I love it, maybe you will too. (Huck, Kirchsteiger & Oechssler 2005) the joy of gaining. (Kahneman and Tversky, 1984) dissonance leads to rationalization.

• Loss aversion. Loosing feels twice as bad as • Need for consistency causes cognitive
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Rationalization and commitment

Jesse Schell, Professor of game design, Carnegie Mellon University

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The preference cycle
Investment: “Should I ‘spend’ on this?” Confirmation: “Since I spent on it before, and I am not an idiot, it must be good.” Rationalization: “Only an idiot would have ‘spent’ on something not good.”
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Little investments, big results
Group 1: 17% accepted Group 2: 76% accepted

Source: Freedman & Fraser, 1966

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Adaptive preference formation
• Changing preferences to be
more compatible with the situation.

• We acquire preferences to serve
our need to be consistent. dissonance.

• Relieve pain of cognitive
Source: Jon Esler, 1983

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Acquiring taste
• • • •
Think of the first time you tried spicy food or alcohol. Acquiring taste follows similar patterns of rationalization to avoid cognitive dissonance. Change ourselves as we change our preferences. “I’m a ____ drinker.”
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Investment changes identity
• Becoming a consumer - “I am a Fox news
watcher.”

• Becoming a creator - “I am Twitter, FB,
StackOverflow poster.” drinker. I am a Mac.”

• Becoming a connoisseur - “I am pinot noir
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Motivating through identity
• • • • •
Registered voters completed survey the day before or the morning of the election. “How important is it to you to be a voter in the upcoming election?” (Noun) “How important is it to you to vote in the upcoming election?” (Verb) Tracked who actually voted. How we see ourselves (the nouns) shape what we do.
“the largest experimental effects ever observed on objectively NIR EYAL measured voter turnout.”
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Source: Bryan, Walton, Rogers, and Dweck, 2011

In summary:
• We overvalue the results of our labor
(endowment effect)

• But need to rationalize this irrational value
(cognitive dissonance)

• One way to do this is to change our taste
(adaptive preference formation) ourselves (identity shaping)

• And behave in line with how we see
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• • • • •

What this means
Build products that store value through small investments Investments don’t feel like work because they require the right amount of challenge In exchange for work, the product does the job better next time Leverage investments to load the next trigger (and drive growth) Never trick the user!
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Your turn
• How can you use small investments to
increase the likelihood of usage by:

• Loading the next trigger • Storing value • Increase preference
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Desire engines create engagement
Low engagement - External triggers - Low preference High engagement - Internal triggers - High preference
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Desire engine canvas
Trigger
2. External trigger - What gets the user to the product? 1. Internal trigger - What does the user really want?

Action
3. What does the user have to do to receive the reward? How can it be made simpler?

Investment
5. What makes the user want to come back? Has the user put in a bit of work to: - Load the next trigger - Increase the value of the product for the user.

Variable Reward
4. What’s the reward? Does it give the user what she wants? Does it maintain an element of surprise?
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Email
T
Icon on phone Procrastinate, anxiety, thoughts of others.... Open unread messages

A

I
Write back Tribe, hunt and self

R

NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Spectator sports
T
Everywhere Monday, boredom, anxiety ... Watch

A

I
Buy stuff Identify self as fan Attend events

VR
Outcome (Self) Fandom - belonging (Tribe) Capturing the win (Hunt)
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Twitter (consumer)
T
Facebook, friend, email ...

A
Scroll
Boredom, curiosity

I
Follow Information (Hunt)

R

NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Twitter (creator)
T
Mention, message

A
Open app
Boredom, curiosity, lonesome

I
Tweet or RT (build following)

R
Social feedback (Tribe)
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Facebook
T A

I

R

NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

With more cycles
Increase motivation and difficulty of action

Greater loyalty, increased NIR EYAL price inelasticity, greater NirAndFar.com satisfaction @nireyal

Your turn
• Write out your user flow along top of
page.

• Use broad steps - open email, land on
home page, scroll, click on message...

• Identify all the potential places for a desire
engines in your product. Find at least 2.
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Building engines
• Fold paper into quarters. • Map out your two Desire Engines. • How might users experience the new flow?
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Think different
• Now start over, build your competitor’s
Desire Engine.

• What would it look like if started fresh?
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Picking hypotheses
• Star 3 (or more) ideas to explore further. • Draw out a simple UI for each. If requires
steps, use frames.
NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

Now go test it
• Thank you! • Please take this survey:

www.OpinionToUs.com

NIR EYAL NirAndFar.com @nireyal

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