Great Apps Psychoanalyze You

Apps get in your headWe all know that poor usability will drive away users, but designing truely addictive, can’t-live-without-it apps actually goes much deeper. The most successful apps tap into the deep-seated habit and addiction forming tendencies of humans – and app designers know it. In fact, an entire panel discussion at 2012 MobileBeat was dedicated to the concept.

Josh Elman (a principle investor with Greylock Partners and former product manager for Facebook and Twitter), Jason Hreha (an applied psychology expert who founded Dopamine design lab), Amy Jo Kim (a  game designer) and Nir Eyal (a lecturer at Standford Graduate School of Business) discussed “the relationship between addiction and user behavior.” Here’s the report from VentureBeat:

Hreha began by discussing the neurobiology of addiction and emphasized the importance of applied psychology and behavioral analysis in developing mobile applications that become integrated into daily life. When designing a product, the first thing to consider is who the prototypical user is, the user’s daily life and habits, and where the app can fit into that system.

“Motivation is such a crazy nut to crack,” he said. “Different people are motivated by different things. Some people respond well to points and rewards, and other people won’t. Everybody will respond to a simple, easy user experience, and it is integrating all these components to make the app a habit.” …

Part of creating meaningful products is in the concept. … Regardless of the product, the users’ “lifecycle” must be a factor in the design. Kim emphasized that the journey through an app is as important as concise, clear new user flow.

All four speakers hailed the power of behavioral patterns and how an understanding of human nature is a fundamental element of mobile design. Studying the psychology of addiction can help companies develop games and products that suck people in and keep them hooked, sinking endless amounts of time and money.

Read the full article at VentureBeat >>>

So the next time you’re testing or using an app that you just can’t seem to walk away from, take a minute to appreciate just how well the app developers apparently know you.

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