In Nir Eyal’s book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, we learn about his Hook Model, a four step process used by companies to instill customer habits. The steps are:
- Trigger Behavior: a user is prompted internally and/or externally to use a product (take action)
- Perform Action: the user uses the product
- Variable Reward for Action: the user is rewarded for using the product (mixing up the reward creates intrigue)
- Investment in Product: the user is asked to do a bit of work (e.g. giving info, sharing, setting up) that will make the product seem more valuable because of the invested effort and also help the product become more tailored the next time it’s used
YogaGlo is a web service that offers access to over 2,500 yoga videos online. It costs $18/month. I’ve been using YogaGlo for the past 2 months, and have made it a part of my weekly routine at home. We’ve been talking about the Hook Model at Barrel in recent weeks as part of our discussions on UX and creating habit-forming features. As I used YogaGlo at home, I noticed that it exhibited elements that were very much in line with the Hook Model.
Triggering Behavior with Convenience
I first felt the need to try YogaGlo when I picked up my running and biking activities. I was feeling tight and wanted to increase my flexibility to prevent injuries. I initially thought about going to a yoga class at my gym, but the inconvenience of inflexible class hours and class length (60 minutes) made me balk. I had heard about YogaGlo from my sister, a part-time yoga instructor, so I decided to give it a try. I immediately saw that my two gripes with yoga class at the gym would be solved:
- I can log in and fire up a video anytime
- I can choose the duration of the video, from 5 minutes to 120 minutes
The convenience factor would be a big part of an internal trigger. After a few weeks, the end of every bike ride or run would automatically prompt me to think about the duration of the video I would want for my YogaGlo session.
Providing Value with Relevant Actions
Convenience aside, I found that the most compelling feature of YogaGlo is the way it curates and organizes its videos. It has three broad categories: Body, Heart, and Mind. Knowing what I wanted (flexibility training), I selected Body. This led me to subcategory landing page featuring Cross-training, Exercise, and Vitality. I picked Cross-training, since the description—“Yoga as cross-training to balance workouts or ease sore muscles”—seemed to fit my needs. Once I clicked in, I was shown a few select collections such as “Classes designed to complement cycling” and “Handpicked classes for Runners.” I couldn’t have asked for a better browsing experience given my circumstances. It was painless and easy for me to pick an appropriate first video (“Hip Opening for Runners”, 15 minutes). It’s been just as frictionless since.
Depth of Offering as the Variable Reward
While I don’t see myself going through all the videos on YogaGlo, I find that its 2,500 and growing number of videos is a big plus. While I’ve already picked 3-4 “go-to” videos for short stretches during the week, I’ve been having fun exploring new instructors and videos on weekends. And knowing that I can venture away from the cross-training yoga videos leaves room for different kinds of rewards. Much like the way I expect and value Netflix for adding new shows and movies to its collection, I find that YogaGlo’s vast and growing catalog provides a variable reward each time I log on to use it.
YogaGlo doesn’t ask the user much in terms of any explicit actions, and I haven’t come across any recommendations based on my previous choices. The investment I can make to better tailor my experience (and to give them info on my preferences) is to add videos to a queue to watch later and to follow instructors, which shows me a feed of videos from that instructor. I haven’t cared much for a particular instructor yet, but the queue is nice because I use it to plan and mix up the videos for the upcoming week to match my running and cycling activities.
As I build up my flexibility, I plan to progress and add more advanced videos (there are various difficulty levels) to the mix. This in itself is a nice variable reward for my investment and action in the product. I think YogaGlo, in its current state, is a solid product with a valuable offering. I hope that as it rolls out new features, more attention will be paid to personalization (e.g. offering up recommendations based on my usage) and guidance (e.g. in-depth tips on correct form) so that beyond convenience and wide selection, I’ll continue to want to keep it as part of my habit.
Illustration by Andres Maza