Waking up early and off to the gym, I never forget to wear headphones, listening to audiobooks, motivational speech, or simply podcasts in a foreign language that can improve my proficiency. These are my daily morning habits. It does not stop in the morning though. Throughout the day, I tend to use my mobile devices and certain applications that are engaging enough.

“Habit – a behaviour done with little or no conscious thought”

About 40% of what we do daily is purely out of habit. I’m going to show you what I’ve read in the book called Hooked written by Nir Eyel. I really got fascinated by it and had a lot of “Aha!” moments during reading. The main takeaway from the book is the design pattern companies use to build habit forming products. The pattern is called the HOOK, which is an experience designed to connect the user’s problems to a solution with enough frequency to form a habit.

The Hook Model

As I’ve already said, the HOOK is an experience designed to connect the user’s problems to your solution.

The Hook Model(Sources: How to build habit-forming products, by Nir Eyal)

The Hook model consists of four distinct elements, namely trigger, action, variable-reward and investment. The chain shows how each element support each other in reaching its goal to habituate users into a product or service.

 1. Trigger

Trigger is the foundation of the process of forming habit as it effectively influences people’s behaviour. This is divided into two types, which are external and internal ones. External triggers provide clear hints to the users about what to do next after getting certain information. The examples of external triggers are social media like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. Once users see photos and videos on the apps that intrigue them, they are tempted to getting more information about them.

After the external triggers managed to propel users into a product or service, they begin to associate themselves with internal triggers. These triggers manifest in their minds and relate to behaviour and emotion that influence users’ daily routines. People will automatically rely on their mobile devices and preferred apps because of the need of social connection and of losing special moment on social media.

2. Action

Action is paramount in forming habit because the triggers will be useless if one does not take action afterwards. In performing an action, physical and mental attempts are highly required rather than thinking.

In his book, Nir mentions The Fogg Behaviour Model to describe how actions can be driven. There are three required aspects to initiate behaviours:

– The users’ MOTIVATION

ABILITY to do the desired action

– A TRIGGER to activate the behaviour

behaviour = motivation + ability + trigger

Nir also gives an example about a missing phone call. There was a time when your mobile phone rang but you did not answer it for some reason. The phone might be in a bag or you might have thought the call was from someone unwelcome. This lack of motivation to act affected you to ignore the call.

3. Variable-Reward

The Hook Model can result in creating a craving. Once you log in to Facebook or Instagram, you will come across with the circulation of various photos and videos. Users tend to browse what they intend to see what they are interested in. However, they will find other interesting objects that will catch their eyes.

The variability attracts users to keep logging in to the social media as they expect for something new. On the contrary, unsurprising things you see on an app will halt you from seeing it again and again. Thus, the promise of reward to the users is immensely imperative for companies to keep them from coming back and to get even more clients.

4. Investment

The investment happens when the users take more action such as devoting their time, money or data into the products. This will increase the likeliness for the users to get hooked in the cycle again.  Companies, however, need to be aware that users invest some efforts to improve their experience and the service.

As they keep scrolling through their social media, they may intend to find and keep things that please them. By doing these actions, they put the details of their preferences that will help increase their ties and hook them for the future cycle.


In my opinion, it’s immensely important to learn about habit-forming products. Because it’s our responsibility that we have as innovators, product designers, developers, entrepreneurs to make our life happier, easier, and healthier collectively. There’s a lot more we can do as consumers and users. And it’s only through understanding how we get hooked that we can break unwanted habits in our own lives.

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