Hooked – How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal

This document is sourced from Hooked by Nir Eyal. Its intended use is to help individuals or teams understand the habit-forming properties or potential in a product. This document is intended to be filled out sequentially. For each section, refer to your answers from the previous section, unless otherwise noted.

The Habit Zone

  • What habits does your business model require?
  • What problem are users turning to your product to solve?
  • How do users currently solve that problem and why does it need a solution?
  • How frequently do you expect users to engage with your product?
  • What user behavior do you want to make into a habit?


  • Who is your product’s user?
  • What is the user doing right before your intended habit?
  • Come up with three internal triggers that could cue your user to action. Refer to the 5 Whys Method described in this chapter.
  • Which internal trigger does your user experience most frequently?
  • Finish this brief narrative using the most frequent internal trigger and the habit you are designing: “Every time the user (internal trigger), he/she (first action of intended habit)”.
  • Refer back to the question about what the user is doing right before the first action of the habit. What might be places and times to send an external trigger?
  • How can you couple an external trigger as closely as possible to when the user’s internal trigger fires?
  • Think of at least three conventional ways to trigger you user with current technology (e-mails, notifications, text messages, etc.). Then stretch yourself to come up with at least three crazy or currently impossible ideas for ways to trigger you user (wearable computers, biometric sensors, carrier pigeons, etc.). You could find that you crazy ideas may not be so nutty after all in a few years new technologies will create all sorts of currently unimaginable triggering opportunities.


  • Wald through the path your users would take to use your product or service, beginning from the time they feel their internal trigger to the point where they receive their expected outcome. How many steps does it take before users obtain the reward they came for? How does the process compare with the simplicity of some of the examples described in this chapter? How does it compare with competing products and services?
  • Which resources are limiting your users’ ability to accomplish the tasks that will become habits?
    • Time, Brain Cycles (too confusing), Money, Social deviance (outside the norm), Physical effort, Non-routine (too new)
  • Brainstorm three testable ways to make intended tasks easier to complete.
  • Consider how you might apply heuristics to make habit-forming actions more likely.

Variable Reward

  • Speak with five of your customers in an open-ended interview to identify what they find enjoyable or encouraging about using your product. Are there any moments of delight or surprise? Is there anything they find particularly satisfying about using the product?
  • Review the steps your customer takes to use your product or service habitually. What outcome (reward) alleviates the user’s pain? Is the reward fulfilling, yet leaves the user wanting more?
  • Brainstorm three ways your product might heighten users’ search for variable rewards using:
    1. Rewards of the tribe – gratification from others
    2. Rewards of the hunt – material goods, money, or information
    3. Rewards of the self – mastery, completion, competency, or consistency


  • Review your flow. What “bit of work” are your users doing to increase their likelihood of returning?
  • Brainstorm three ways to add small investments into your product to:
    • Load the next trigger.
    • Store value as data, content, followers, reputation, and skill.
  • Identify how long it takes for a “loaded trigger” to reengage your users. How can you reduce the delay to shorten time spent cycling through the Hook?

What Are You Going to Do with This?

  • Take a minute to consider where you fall on the Manipulation Matrix. Do you use your own product or service? Does it influence positive or negative behaviors? How does it make you feel? Ask yourself if you are proud of the way you are influencing the behavior of others.

Habit Testing and Where to Look… (Refer to your answers from the Investment chapter)

  • Perform Habit Testing, as described in the chapter, to identify the steps users take toward long-term engagement.
  • Be aware of your behaviors and emotions for the next week as you use everyday products. Ask yourself:
    • What triggered me to use these products? Was I prompted externally or through internal means?
    • Am I using these products as intended?
    • How might these products improve their on-boarding funnels, reengage users through additional external triggers, or encourage users to invest in their services?
  • Speak with three people outside your social circle to discover which apps occupy the first screen on their mobile devices. Ask them to use these apps as they normally would and see if you uncover any unnecessary or nascent behaviors.
  • Brainstorm five new interfaces that could introduce opportunities or threats to your business.