A ‘dark pattern’ is a user interface that has been craftily designed to trick users into doing things they might not want to do, in order to benefit the business in question. The term was coined by UK-based UI designer Harry Brignull, who runs DarkPatterns.org – a website dedicated to “naming and shaming websites that use deceptive user interfaces”.
For example, have you ever tried to delete your Amazon account? You need to navigate through six different steps before you finally reach the page which shows you the option to close your account, after which, you have to start a live chat with their customer care to actually do it.
Other examples of dubious UI design include obscured unsubscribe buttons in emails, and online banner ads with a strand of hair or dust particles in their design, so that you mistake them for something on your phone screen and click them.
In light of the recent Facebook data leak scandal, The Nerdwriter has come up with an excellent video that explains what dark patterns are, with relevant examples. Watch below.
00:08 – What are dark patterns?
00:19 – Deleting your Amazon account
02:16 – Unsubscribe button in emails
02:34 – Two Dots video game CTAs
03:20 – Dust on Chatmost banner ad
03:28 – Booking.com urgent alerts
03:50 – LinkedIn invites
Design is the language in which we interact with the internet. That language needs to be honest, comprehensible, and transparent.
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