Habit Testing and Where to Look for Habit-Forming Opportunities

Habit Testing and Where to Look for Habit-Forming Opportunities

Now that you have an understanding of the Hook Model and have reflected on the morality of influencing user behavior, it is time to get to work.

Running your idea through the four phases of the model will help you discover potential weaknesses in your product’s habit-forming potential.

          Does your users’ internal trigger frequently prompt them to action? Is your external trigger cueing them when they are most likely to act? Is your design simple enough to make taking the action easy? Does the reward satisfy your users’ need while leaving them wanting more? Do your users invest a bit of work in the product, storing value to improve the experience with use and loading the next trigger?

          By identifying where your technology is lacking, you can focus on developing improvement to your product where it matters most.

Habit Testing

You should have enough knowledge to prototype your product. But simply coming up with ideas is not enough, and creating user habits is often easier said than done. The process of developing successful habit-forming technologies requires patience and persistence.

The Hook Model can be a helpful tool for filtering out bad ideas with low habit potential as well as a framework for identifying room for improvement in existing products.

          However, after the designer has formulated new hypotheses, there is no way to know which ideas will work without testing them with actual users.

Building a habit-forming product is an iterative process and requires user-behavior analysis and continuous experimentation.

Habit Testing does not always require a live product; however, it can be difficult to draw clear conclusions without a comprehensive view of how people are using your system. The following steps assume you have a product, users, and meaningful data to explore.

Steps 1: Identify

 The initial questions for Habit Testing is “Who are the product’s habitual users?” Remember, the more frequently your product is used, the more likely it is to form a user habit.

First, define what it means to be a devoted user. How often “should” one use your product?

          The answer to this question is very important and can widely change your perspective. Publicly available data from similar products or solutions can help define your users and engagement targets. If data are not available, educated assumptions must be made—but be realistic and honest.

          If you are building a social networking app like Twitter or Instagram, you should expect habitual users to visits the service multiple times per day. On the other hand, you should not expect users of a movies recommendation site like Rotten Tomatoes to visit the service multiple times per day. On the other hand, you should not expect users of a movie recommendation site like Rotten Tomatoes to visit more than once or twice a week (because their visits will come on the heels of seeing a movie or researching one to watch). Don’t come up with an overly aggressive prediction that only accounts for uberusers; you are looking for a realistic guess to calibrate how often typical users will interact with your product.

          Once you know how often users should use your product, dig into the numbers to identify how many and which type of users meet this threshold. As a best practice, use cohort analysis to measure changes in user behaviour through future product iterations.

Step 2: Codify

Let’s say that you’ve identified a few users who meet the criteria of habitual users. Yet how many such users are enough? My rule of thumb is 5 percent. Though your rate of active users will need to be much higher to sustain your business, this is a good initial benchmark.

          However, if at least 5 percent of your users don’t find your product valuable enough to use as much as you predicted they would, you may have a problem. Either you identified the wrong users or your product needs to go back to the drawing board. If you have exceeded that bar, though, and identified your habitual users, the next step is to codify the steps they took using your product to understand what hooked them.

          Users will interact with your product in slightly different ways. Even if you have a standard users flow, the way users engage with your product creates a unique fingerprint. Where users are coming from, decisions made when registering, and the number of friends using the services are just a few of the behaviors that help create a recognizable pattern. Sift through the data to determine if similarities emerge.

You are looking for a Habit Path a series of similar actions shared by your most loyal users.

Step 3: Modify

Armed with new insights, it is time to revisit your product and identify ways to nudge new users down the same Habit Path taken by devotees. This may include an update to the registration funnel, content changes, feature removal, or increased emphasis on an existing feature. Twitter used the insights gained from the previous step to modify its on boarding process, encouraging new users to immediately begin following others.

          Habit Testing is a continual process you can implement with every new feature and product iteration.

Tracking users by cohort and comparting their activity with that of habitual users should guide how products evolve and improve.

Discoverting Habit forming Opportunities

The Habit Testing process requires the product designer to have an existing product to test. Where, though, might you look to find potentially habit-forming experiences ripe for new technological solutions?

          When it comes to developing new products, there are no guarantees. Along with creating an engaging product, start-ups must also find a way to monetize and grow. It is necessary to build a business models for delivering customer value or methods for profitable customer acquisition, both are necessary components of any successful business.

Several things must go right for a new company to succeed, and forming user habits is just one of them.

Being a facilitator is not a only a moral imperative, it also makes for better businesses practices. Creating a product the designer uses and believes materially improves people’s lives increases the odds of delivering something people want. Therefore, the first place for the entrepreneur or designer to look for new opportunities is in the mirror. Paul Graham advises entrepreneurs to leave the sexy-sounding business ideas behind and instead build for their own needs: “Instead of asking ‘what problem should I solve?’ ask ‘what problem do I wish someone else would solve for me?’’’

Studying your own needs can lead to remarkable discoveries and new ideas because the designer always had a direct line to at least one user: him or herself.

 This Article is taken from Hooked

Written by Arshad. A

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