What is an “Aha!” Moment and How to Search For It?

The “Aha!” moment is a relatively new term in user experience. To understand it thoroughly, we first need to learn how our emotions affect our behaviors and decision-making. Because our emotions are the driving force behind most of our behaviors and decisions.

Emotions are the consequences of the chemical messages revealed from our brain through the body. For example, when we identify or experience something rewarding such as a notification from Twitter that says “Someone retweeted your post! 🔁”, our brain releases dopamine, oxytocin, or serotonin which are the chemicals that make us feel good and give a motivation to keep going on the task or behavior.

Sometimes the effects of the feeling are very strong that it drives our behaviors and decision-making and “Aha!” moments are such moments that make a user decide to employ a product. Every product team surely wants to create “Aha!” moments in their products and make users find them, during the whole interaction process. It comes out as a key factor that needs to be understood contextually as a principal term.

Now we are going to dive into the “Aha!” moment of a product, what sort of emotional impulses it conducts and how it can affect our decisions whether to use a product or not.

What is an “Aha!” moment?

It is very intricate to make an absolute definition of “Aha!” moment, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be identified. We can generally recognize when it has happened to us.

They are the accelerators of the possibilities, they dissolve boundaries and make us see things differently. Once a mind has been stretched by one “Aha!” moment, it can never go back to its original state.

Ina Catrinescu, The Author of Burnout Breakthrough: Motivating Employees with Leadership Tools That Work

“Aha!” moments are the steps on the staircase of progress and it is because we know that and we understand the power of “Aha!” that makes you keep reading this blog. We are here searching for breakthroughs to penetrate our minds. You can call it a hocus-pocus moment, or the moment of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

The “Aha!” moment is the point in which a user meets the proposed value of a product and perceives not only how it works, but also how it will add value to their lives.

It is the consequence of your users’ interaction with your product. For example, in the first interaction, they are highly skeptical and looking for something special that can suddenly give them insight or a realization feeling. These exclusive moments are all about the sentimental reactions of users to catching a feature.

The Search for “Aha!” Moments in Your Product

We know that we humans are inherently innovative because if we weren’t we would all be living in caves as our ancestors did 40,000 years ago. One of the things we need to question is, are there ways to make innovation easier and occur more frequently? Is there a way to take those aha moments that seem to happen randomly to have them intentionally?

These are the conceptional questions that give you the perception to reach the “Aha!”. One proper way to do it is to understand your users’ behavior and what are the reasons that make some customers churn.

Conducting Research is Important

An important step to achieve reaching aha moments in your product is reaching customers who use your product successfully, analyzing how they use your product and receiving feedback from them. Because they likely have done things differently from the ones who churned early. Plus, they probably see or find some things that others do not see.

Additionally, “Aha!” moments don’t need to be the same for every user. So, they can differ. Alikeness or predictability of these magical moments among users is based on the reasons why each customer has individually signed up for your product. That’s because the proposed value is highly dependent on what a user tries to accomplish with your product.

Consequently, conducting comprehensive research based on customer feedback can help you find your “Aha!” moments. Here is Intercom’s messaging service’s story on finding their unique magical moment.

Aha moment examples from tech companies
Some examples for “Aha!” moments from the top tech companies. Source:

Considering “Customer Retention” can be very helpful

It sounds pretty fundamental but customers come to you and they are already expecting that you are gonna provide to them exactly what they are looking for. This is highly related to “Aha!” moments.

Retention has to be an important priority as growth. An online customer loyalty research by Bain&Co published that 5percent on average in retention rate can generate an increase in profits from 25 percent to 95 percent. Furthermore, the report also emphasized that most businesses may have to retain their users for at least 12 to 18 months to reach the break-even point.

When a customer retains, it means that the customer is satisfied by the existence or sufficiency of a feature, cheaper/better price offer, or he/she wants to go deeper into your product.

Analyzing why customers retain, on what page they spent their time the most, how frequently they log in, briefly following their actions can provide significant insights on finding, creating or enhancing your product’s “Aha!” moments.

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