“Everything that involves us, every part of the content is developed to be interesting”
Eyal invited Schüll to have a real debate about the report she put together. “Although the conference was dedicated to developing products that create addition, these methods have their dark side,” he said. “If we don’t use them properly, or use them to achieve questionable goals, we can harm people.”
However, it is hard to say whether Schüll’s report was interpreted as a warning or a guide for action. Eyal criticizes Slots because, according to him, this is a business that is built on gambling addicts. “I have problems with this industry,” he said. His book Hooked is in many ways a more generalist version of the book Addiction by Design that was written for techies. The model of successful product design is based on the process of the transition from trigger to action – reward – investment – and vice versa.
Regarding triggers, Eyal cites Instagram to illustrate how emotional pain can become a powerful trigger for product use – in Instagram’s case this is related to the imaginary pain of lost memories. “It is our goal as product developers to solve problems and eliminate emotional pain…. If a user finds a product that can help them with this, then they have a strong sense of positive association with it over time.”
We asked Eyal if there was any difference between games for mobile devices, dating apps and Slot Machines. He gave several answers that sounded universal and somewhat defensive at the same time. He said that people prone to addiction can become addicted, and buy anything, before they recognize that this addiction is the same as that of the game.
“Every piece of content should be interesting. As a writer, you build various rewards for the reader in the pages of your book. Everything that entices us, every piece of content, must be interesting. Movies are not real life; books and your articles are not real life. They are written that way, so that the reader has to read one sentence after another going through the mystery. It’s a Slot Machine`. Your article is a lost machine,” Eyal concluded.