What are dark patterns?
Dark Patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make
you do things that you didn't mean to: like buying or signing up for something.
They aren’t “bad design” but intentional design choices that seek to be dishonest, rather than offering
honest user experiences instead.
How do Dark Patterns work?
When you use websites and apps, you don’t read every word on
every page - you skim read and make assumptions, especially in an digital age where faster is better. If a
company wants to trick you into doing something, they can take advantage of this by making a page look like
it is doing one thing when it is in fact making you do another.
When glanced upon quickly the question appears to ask one thing, but
when read carefully it asks another thing entirely.
Sneak Into Basket
You attempt to purchase something, but somewhere in the purchasing
journey the site sneaks an additional item into your basket, often through the use of an opt-out radio
button or checkbox on a prior page.
You get into a situation very easily, but then you find it is hard to
get out of it (e.g. a premium subscription).
You are tricked into publicly sharing more information about yourself
than you intended to. Named after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Price Comparision Prevention
The retailer makes it hard for you to compare the price of an item
with another similar item, so you cannot make an informed decision.
The design purposefully focuses your attention on one thing in order
to distract you attention from another.
You get to the last step of the checkout process, only to discover
some unexpected charges have appeared, e.g. delivery charges, tax, etc.
Bait and Switch
You set out to do one thing, but a different, undesirable thing
The act of guilting the user into opting into something. The option
to decline is worded in such a way as to shame the user into compliance.
Adverts that are disguised as other kinds of content or navigation,
in order to get you to click on them.
When your free trial with a service comes to an end and your credit
card silently starts getting charged without any warning whatsoever. In some cases this is made even
worse by making it difficult to cancel the membership.
The product/service asks for your email or social media permissions
under the pretense it will be used for a desirable outcome (e.g. finding friends), but then spams all
your contacts in a message that claims to be from you.