Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet (the company formerly known as Google), has a quirky way of deciding which companies he likes. It’s called “The Toothbrush Test.” According to the New York Times, when Page looks at a potential company to acquire, he wants to know if the product is, like a toothbrush, “something you will use once or twice a day.”
Page clearly understands habits. As I wrote in my book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” frequently used products form sticky customer habits. But what if your product doesn’t pass Page’s Toothbrush Test? Perhaps you’d like people to use your product or service frequently, but it just doesn’t make sense to do so.
A few months ago, I was hired to present at a gathering of 700 real estate agents. The master of ceremonies made a gracious introduction, saying, “Now we’ll hear from Nir Eyal, an expert on consumer habits. Nir is going to teach us how to make home buying and selling into a habit!”
Several months ago, I wrote an article sharing a happiness hack my wife and I use to maintain and nourish close friendships. Here’s a SlideShare summary of the article. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Is the world more distracting? Sometimes it seems that way. With our digital devices buzzing, world events demanding our attention, and more things to entertain us than ever before, it certainly seems harder to focus on what’s really important. And yet, focus is exactly what it takes to get things done and get ahead.Conquer Distractions With This Simple Chart Click To Tweet
Distraction might appear more available than ever, but it is nothing new. Over 2,000 years ago, Socrates and Aristotle debated the nature of “akrasia,” (pronounced uh-crazy-uh), our tendency to act against our better judgement. To the ancient Greeks, mere mortals were prone to distraction due to our weakness of will. Easy for them to say — Socrates and Aristotle never had to resist binge-watching “Game of Thrones.”
Nir’s Note: This Q&A recently appeared on the 15five.com blog and it pulled out some thoughts I’ve been chewing on regarding technology, addiction, and our relationship with the products we use. I’ve edited it slightly and hope you find it interesting.
Question: Pokémon GO is all the rage right now. Can you talk about that in the context of a habit forming product? Is it negative or positive?
Nir Eyal: We have to think of technology in the broader context of the environment that we live in. The knee jerk reaction that always occurs with a new technology is that we don’t like it. We are averse to change and fear new technologies.
Changing user habits isn’t easy — but understanding how to conduct Habit Testing will increase your odds of success.
In this video, I provide a brief introduction to the three steps of Habit Testing. I explain how product designers use these steps to identify their devotees, codify what makes the product habit-forming, and modify the user experience accordingly.
Let me know what you think of the video and your own experience designing user habits in the comments section below.
Also, here’s a graphic to help you remember the 3 steps to Habit Testing — Identify, Codify, and Modify. If you find it helpful, don’t forget to share it.
My original article can be found here:
Recently, the Pokemon Go phenomenon has reigniting the question of technology’s role in changing behavior.
To put things in perspective, I wanted to share the main points of an article I published on the topic titled, Who’s Really Addicting Us to Technology?, in a slide presentation below. It’ll give you a quick rundown of the “suspects” responsible for our tech addiction.
Please let me know your feedback and if you enjoyed the slides, please share them.Who’s Really Addicting You to Technology? Check out these slides Click To Tweet
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In years to come, conversations will breathe new life into software—particularly the boring enterprise tools millions of knowledge workers begrudgingly use every day. Conversational user interfaces (CUIs) work because of our familiarity with messaging. Even the most technically complex interactions can look as simple as getting an SMS text when presented as a conversation.
There are three benefits conversational user interfaces have over traditional software and we believe these lessons can inform and inspire the redesign of countless online services. To illustrate the potential of conversational interfaces, we’ve reimagined what Google Analytics, one of the most widely-used (and widely-despised) pieces of enterprise software could look like as a conversation.Die Dashboards, Die! Why Conversations Will Reinvent Software Click To Tweet
What’s it all for anyway?
Before diving into our redesign, it is important to consider some fundamental questions. What is enterprise software for? What job does it do for the user?
Nir’s Note: This guest post is an excerpt from the new book Invisible Influence: The Hidden Factors that Shape Behavior, written by my friend and Wharton School professor, Jonah Berger.
Being different, the notion goes, is the route to success. Think different was even Apple’s motto for a period. And Apple is often held up as a poster child of the benefits of this ethos. Conventional wisdom suggests that products like the iPhone and Macintosh succeeded because they were different from the rest. Steve Jobs was a visionary because he thought different from everyone else.
There’s only one problem with this advice. It’s wrong.