14 July 2013

Why behavior change apps fail to change behavior

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“Too many well-intentioned products fail because they feel like ‘haftas,’ things people are obligated to do, as opposed to things they ‘wanna’ do,” writes Nir Eyal on Techcrunch.

“When faced with ‘haftas,’ our brains register them as punishments so we take shortcuts, cheat, skip-out, or in the case of many apps or websites, uninstall them or click away in order to escape the discomfort of feeling controlled. […]

Unfortunately, too many companies build their products betting users will do what they should or have to do, instead of what they want to do. They fail to change behaviors because they neglect to make their services enjoyable for its own sake, often asking users to learn new, unfamiliar actions instead of making old routines easier.

Instead, products that successfully change behavior present users with an implicit choice between their old way of doing things and the new, more convenient solution to existing needs. By maintaining the user’s freedom to choose, products can facilitate the adoption of new habits and change behavior for good.”

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21 April 2017
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