All products that tend to be engaging and have the strength of continuously making you come back for more have one basic design pattern: a hook.
So what is a hook? In the digital world, we live in, a hook is best described as experiences that connect users’ problems/desires to the company’s solution with enough frequency that a habit is formed. In other words, a well-designed hook endlessly makes you come back for more. Hooks are in all sorts of (digital) products we use with little or no conscious thought.
A hook is about creating habits. Over time habits are formed as customers form associations sparking unprompted engagement. Their behavior changes from needing external triggers (like advertisements) for conversion, to feeling connected so deeply that they let associations with internal triggers spark unprompted engagement on its own; to self-trigger. The hardest part of all this is making the transition from the need for external triggers to let the internal ones do their job.
For this article, I’ve grouped 4 persuasive design patterns that are used often by UX / UI designers. It could be useful for marketers too when working on your conversion optimization scores and preventing users from bouncing due to a website that is inconvenient to use.
1. Kairos — Make sure to communicate to users in situations that are opportune for change
Imagine when your iCloud subscription is close to ending, Apple will notify you that you can extend your subscription or else you will lose all data that is stored on the cloud. You will be put in a situation where you’ll have to make the choice between quitting your subscription and losing all your photos or paying extra and extending your subscription in order to keep your photos safe. Most certainly you’ll choose the second option.
2. Trigger — Use nudges to cue your users to take action
Triggers are there to cue the user to take action in the current context they are in. They could be anything, as long as they distract you by popping up when you’re not necessarily expecting it to pop up. Once again I’m picking your daily-used smartphone as the ideal example of this. Who doesn’t recognize the scenario where you’re watching a video on Youtube when the Whatsapp notification bar pops up seducing you to start (or continue) a conversation with the sender. Totally distracted from the video you press the notification bar and there you go. Directed back to Whatsapp again.
Another great example is the small red circles with a number in it that appear next to an action button telling you there’s some unread news behind it. You might not be into opening that application, but this way of persuasion makes you wonder what the news could be. Maybe it’s important, you might think. And before you know it you’re converted.
View the example above…And you were so serious about not ordering pizza this week! A trigger is described as one of the best persuasive design techniques. Especially on mobile interfaces.
3.Tailoring — Adapt the offerings of a system/platform to match individual users’ needs
Tailored information has a way bigger chance to change a persons’ belief than generic information does. The core goal of tailored information is to make life simpler for the user by creating an imaginary bubble and showing only what is relevant to them. Think of individual needs, personality, and interests. We’ve all experienced this in our own personal online shopping experience. That’s because most professional webshops are using this technique. An excellent example would be Amazon who has mastered the use of tailoring to its fingertips. Their data-driven suggestions based on your browsing and purchasing habits are distinctive.
4. Periodic Events — Construct recurring events to build up anticipation and a sense of belonging
In your customer journey cycle, you are continuously trying to create moments of comfort and sustained interest for your customers. You want to provide them with the best customer experience possible because due to the mass competition out there, being nice to your customers is what will make you stand out. Therefore you should consider ways to create share recurring experiences users can look forward to. Typical examples of periodic events are the most famous ones like mother’s day, Black Friday, and Christmas. However, you can also create your own events like Media Markt did with the “BTW weg ermee” days. They executed so well that the whole country knows they can buy their products a lot cheaper at Media Markt in January. You could also think of monthly or weekly returning events like weekly tips or monthly report cards.
With the periodic events pattern keep in mind that content is key. Get to know your customers first and give them a reason to return to you in a repetitive fashion.