Dark Patterns: Deception vs Honesty in UI Design

Ankur Kushwaha | 28th September 2018

These visual techniques take advantage of cognitive bias. They are intentionally used to create interfaces that make users take actions that benefit the business – which they may not choose otherwise.

A dark pattern could be as simple as a pre-ticked checkbox during a registration process.

Designers could manipulatively hide the checkbox and avoid prominent colors. Consequently, users are likely not to notice, fail to deselect and become subscribed to a newsletter, for example.

But they can be more complex. For example, some interfaces send emails or social media posts on users’ behalf, to their own network – without them being aware.

These could use hidden opt-outs, misleading buttons or confusing user journeys.

Common dark patterns include:

Roach motel

Interfaces that make it easy for users to achieve goals, but difficult to exit if they desire e.g. memberships that are hard to cancel.

Forced continuity

After subscribing to a free trial, automatically rolling users over to a paid plan.

Sneak into the basket

Interfaces that add an extra item (or fee) to baskets during the online purchase process.

The outcomes seem lucrative, manipulating users to achieve business goals rapidly. But dark patterns are regarded as an unethical approach. Some businesses using these techniques have been publicly fined, which could reduce brand perception. The persuasive design has been advocated as the alternative.

We probably won’t prefer to let it be known, yet trickery is profoundly laced with life on this planet. Bugs advanced to utilize it, creatures utilize it in their conduct, and obviously, we people utilize it to control and benefit from one another. In view of this current, it’s nothing unexpected that trickery shows up in different pretenses in UIs on the web today. What is astounding, however, is that as of not long ago it was something website specialists never discussed. There was no wording, no outline designs, and no genuine acknowledgment of it as a wonder by any stretch of the imagination. On the off chance that it was certainly not an unthinkable it absolutely felt like one.

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Ankur Kushwaha

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