Designing Habit- forming apps

What designers think while designing habit forming apps for users

All the words associated with habit forming in apps are quite interesting. Simply put like hunt, trigger, action etc. What is this? Some Hitchcock movie? The conceptual framework of the topic lies core to four important words like Trigger, action, reward and investment. They are just there in design like nobody’s business. Two types of triggers voluntarily pop up in a great design. Internal and external triggers. External trigger gets the user to the product. Internal trigger is mostly what the user wants. For example, you install Facebook because of the fear of missing out, then you see the sign-up page and take an account, further you get new friends and their validation. This is an interconnected process that you as our users subconsciously do. After experiencing trigger, a user act to that trigger by responding to the notifications of an application. And you are rewarded by surprise elements in that application. For example, users always check their mails to check for a surprise element. The annoying welcome mails, dedicated mails or even the brand story mails get a welcome if they have a surprise element to offer for the users. When the user invests in the app by again and again returning to it, then the designer’s job to hook them to it is already done.

Well, variable rewards are of three types like hunt, tribe and self. Rewards of tribe is based on the peculiar behavior of human being s to depend upon each other and empathise for each other. The kind of validation that the users receive through reposts and retweets. Social media influence just bombarded because of the powerful social rewards that they offer. Business drive consumers with the reward of hunting behavior. It is unstoppable for users to scroll through amazon for finding new offers and best deals. Users hunt for the gem of a post among many other stupid posts on feed on social media. Therefore, users hint without even their knowledge for information. The rewards of self are about the sense of accomplishment that users feel after using an application. User may not know a game when he starts but eventually seeks proficiency with time and this gives a sense of accomplishment.

Designers primarily hook users onto the hook canvas which is of elements previously mentioned like trigger, action, rewards and investment and adds fuel onto these elements by giving timely rewards

The concept of Vortex and constant drive to hook you

Every designer sees the concept of vortex as an opportunity. Walking the users through attractive images, then to a sign-up page to then the bank purchase page is a tactic used very efficiently by the designers. Designers hook users into healthy brand engagement and interaction. All we can do is that to make our users feel satisfied for the time that’s spend being lost inside the apps. We can design something in a way that is consensual and not resentful. Something that doesn’t just auto play and lead users to confused state until they decide to stop unintentionally. Everybody has a reason to get sucked by vortex, some do it in control, some do it intentionally and some do it unconsciously. We can design apps that rightfully get into the nerves of the users with their conscious consent and not impose over them.

Clear Objectives

An application should only turn with clear objectives right before they are onto the hooking process. Where exactly to nudge the users and where exactly to hook are careful decisions that a designer should make. It essentially depends upon what we want the users to do first: Is it to know brand identity, Is to reinstate the brand message or if it is call for an action. Every vortex web should have a purpose.

If you as a designer want your user to consider your app to be habitual and use it like a regime, make it worthy of their time. If another app already fulfils a need, find a gap and niche it with your design. A user should know the ultimate benefit that you’re app gives. So, make your objectives clear

Fluid interface

Having a lot of new things in your app shouldn’t make users feel overwhelmed. The communication between the user and the design should flow seamlessly. Not necessary jargonizing only fulfils brand conveyance, rather we can provide users value by helping to identify and move within the app seamlessly. You can give updates timely to up your game.

Smooth onboarding

We should ensure that the users get a smooth onboarding onto our applications by making sure of great and enhanced engagement. This engagement can only be supported with banger design, great hook model, satisfaction from our users and value for services. The design factors that compliment the above valuables are

  1. Not more than one sign up page
  2. Always have smooth sign up and login interfaces
  3. No or Very less complex features
  4. Place the merits of using the app rightfully rather than cluttering with features
  5. Give step by step tutorial to ease the usage


To conclude, a properly hooked application creates a benchmark for the other apps to win hearts. It lets them understand where they stand in terms of their anchoring effect over the user. A designer must be aware of the potential of each part of their design and which feature hooked into the hearts of their audiences. Therefore, drafting a crazy strategy after learning your audience brings all far and near audiences towards leaning onto applications daily.




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