Any product can be designed for 4 different product states which are mentioned below:

Adopt — Initial experience of the user, positive onboarding, and effortless learning.

Use — Error-free and effective task completion serving the actual purpose with a delight.

Transact — Converting the users, to make them pay and subscribe.

Return — Engaging a user to return to the app and become the user’s part of life.

Offboarding — Effectively sending users away from the platform.

Here we are going to discuss various psychological principles that we can consider while designing for these different states.

It involves onboarding the users to start using the product and can consist of various steps like verifying the contact details and prompts to explain the product features. Ideally efficient and effective onboarding without any frustrations to the users.

Email and OTP confirmation can be done in a Sniper Link technique where the user gets the action button to see the email received to verify it, by modifying the URL of the email by including a search attribute.

Nurture adoption. Rather than trying to reduce the churn later on, try to prevent it by a good explanation of the product and double checking the users benefit from all your features from the metrics.

People hate the tension created by incomplete tasks. The Zeigarnik effect can be applied on the onboarding screens where the users have to input their information. Nudging the user to complete the process.

Applying the principle of chronoception. The annoying waiting periods can be transformed into delightful experiences by following three principles. Try never to let users watch the soup come to a boil. Entertain them. By

1. Highlight the next important steps.

2. Reassure that it’s only going to take a few moments to set up and,

3. Reinforce the benefits the user is about to enjoy.

This step is about improving the efficiency of the digital product to accomplish the primary goal of the user. To provide familiar interfaces and behaviors without reinventing the wheel, to improving the task completion of the user respecting users value of time.

Familiarity bias, People prefer familiar experiences, so it’s always not a great idea to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the User Interface. That’s why Brave uses Chromium, the open-source browser project used by 80% of internet users. It uses a familiar interface like Chrome which is much more popular.

Screenshot of Brave browser to explain it’s similarity to Chrome.
The UI of Brave is similar to the chrome browser.

Progressive disclosure can be applied for the use case where the users have to perform more actions or need to explore more features of the app. This makes the user much more focused. Opting for a more gradual approach might not only improve time-to-value. Slowing things down can help sometimes to highlight things and not overwhelm the users.

Treating users like humans. Truly great products respect people’s time and attention while reflecting human values (safety, belonging, empathy, etc.). For example, Brave’s business model relies on those ethical pillars and thus shows these aspects that every time how much time is saved for the users.

Screenshot of Brave browser that shows estmated time saved.
Brave shows the estimated time saved.

Clear next step to increase the discoverability of the action. Simplify everything in the interface so users have only one thing to focus on. would improve the overall experience.

When people are given unexpected behaviors that help them to achieve the tasks, People are more likely to remember that. Always such Sticky behaviors which are innovative new experiences would be constantly used again and again.

It involves allowing users for an easy checkout for a purchase or triggering them to make a payment or subscription. This can be ideally done by simplifying the transaction processes and by building trust with the users.

Progress bars to reduce churn. Almost 70% of all checkout sessions are abandoned. 20% of those churned sessions were due to a long and complicated checkout process. Progress bars can solve both issues by calming users and giving a clear sense of where the finish line is and the steps that are required to complete the tasks.

Zeigarnik Effect can be applied here as well as the people hate the tension created by incomplete tasks. Showing the number of products in a cart nudges the user to take action to complete them. This principle can be applied to any product that wants to help people complete harder tasks.

Reciprocity & trust. Users are more likely to engage with your product after you provide value. So if we want to ask the users to allow for the push notifications, ask at the correct time after providing the value and building trust. For the example below of Brave asking to set it as a default browser is a big ask, but the pop-up appears after allowing users to try and really enjoy the product.

Exampe of Brave asking for setting as default browser after providing value.
Notification to set as default Browser in Brave.

This step is basically making the users come back and use the product in their daily life by providing a better immersive experience and building habit forming behaviors to become as a part of their life.

Immersive Experiences or Distraction-free interfaces can greatly increase your user engagement. The digital products that we design need to be focused on action-based and the features need to be prioritized for providing immersive experiences.

Users can be asked to perform habit-forming repeated tasks, which would trigger a chain reaction that can make users perform an action without even thinking (swipe up an example for Tik Tok).

Use sticky content, in the case of content/media platforms use simple (very short and basic), unexpected (curiosity gap), concrete (e.g. relevant ), emotional (fun/fear, music-driven) stories.

The variable reward is given to the user ( i.e. can be the comment or likes of friends as a notification on Instagram). The high variability in number makes the user come back and look for it.

It involves effective offboarding the users. It can be done by mentioning everything else that product could offer which users might have missed, by getting feedbacks to understand the reason why the users are leaving and finally by being not manipulative.

The loss aversion effect that explains the pain of losing something is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining the equivalent. If we could show what the users are losing, the users might take a second thought and might not leave the application.

Lifecycle opportunities. When people leave your product, they do it for a reason. Once you understand those reasons and know how users think (what are their hopes/pains/barriers), you can find new opportunities to fill a gap in their journey. So it’s better to ask them while offboarding in short steps.

The Professional Mourner should not be used. Using human emotions to make someone feel bad for leaving is an inadequate exaggeration. But we’ve seen more products use this shabby trick to look “more human,” by using crying or sad imagery but in reality, it looks manipulative.

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