The fact that we have greater access to the web through our various devices also gives companies greater access to us. As companies combine increased access with the ability to collect and process data at higher speeds, it's easier for habit-forming technologies to hook users. Companies need to know how to harness the power of hooks to improve peoples’ lives, while consumers need to understand the mechanics of behavior engineering to protect themselves from manipulation.
- Now that we've walked through the four fundamental steps of the hook, it's your turn to answer these five fundamental questions that if you're building a product or service that requires a habit, requires unprompted user engagement. Number one, you've got to be able to answer, what's the internal trigger? What's the itch that you are catering for, for your customers that occurs with sufficient frequency in their day-to-day lives? Number two, what's the external trigger that prompts your user to action with some piece of information for what to do next and is that well-timed with the internal trigger? Then, the action phase, the third question.
What's the simplest behavior done in anticipation of reward and how can it be made simpler? Then, number four, the reward phase. How can you give the user what they came for? How can you scratch that itch and yet leave them wanting more, a bit of mystery around what they might find the next time they engage with your product? And finally, the investment phase. What's the bit of work the user does, the user puts into the product to increase the likelihood of the next pass through the hook? Those are the five fundamental questions you've got to ask. Now, before we conclude, there's one more thing that was probably on your mind, I'm guessing.
During this whole presentation, this whole class, and it's something concerns me quite a bit and that is this question around the morality of manipulation. Because, let me very frank with you, these techniques work and sometimes they even work too well, and we in the product design business community, we have to be very careful about how these techniques are applied because what were doing here is manipulation, no bones about it. Anytime we are changing people's behaviors to meet our interests and mine, particularly commercial interests, folks, that is a form of manipulation.
So, we need to be very careful about how we apply these techniques because while there are two forms of manipulation, persuasion and coercion; persuasion is helping people do things they want to do, versus coercion which is helping people do things they don't want to do, we have to make sure that we always stick on this side of using these tools to help persuade people to do things they want to do. Because the real opportunity here, the reason I wake up every morning to do the work I do is because far too many products and services are out there trying to help people live better lives, more connected, healthier, happier, better lives, but for one reason or another the product hasn't been designed in a way to help people do the things they want to do.
And that's really my mission. Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and WhatsApp, and Snapchat and Slack, they already know these techniques. What I want to help the world do is to help companies like yours, is to help small businesses, to help an entrepreneur with an idea for a new app that's going to help people live better lives. What I want to help you do is to use these very same techniques to help people do the things they want to do. And if we can do that, if we can help people build these healthy habits in their day-to-day lives, we can have a tremendous impact on their well being.
So, let me leave you with a slightly changed quote from Gandhi. Gandhi told us to, "be the change we wish to be "in the world." What I want you to do is to build the change you wish to see in the world. Thank you.