Dark Patterns

A well explained and compelling presentation at http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/Home on how some organisation exploit UX in unethical ways. It is fascinating to see how incompetence and dumb luck in terms of web form design is evolving. As we gain understanding of the psychological and cognitive processes people are learning how to exploit misunderstanding and trust. The humble web form becomes a muggers paradise.

The line between encouraging people to do what you want and tricking them into doing things that they don’t want to is very grey. As DarkPatterns.org explain many companies will have a poor moral compass and without pressure from outside. For example shoddy tricks to make company websites appear higher up search engine results are only kept to a minimum because the search engine software is regularly updated to punish people that seek to ‘cheat’ their way to the top. There is no equivalent in terms of UX. I think the only that companies can be dissuaded from making ££££s with little effort is to publicly name and shame them. When the use of dark patterns is seen as the confidence trick that it is we have some hope of limiting there use to murkier areas of the interweb.

Leave a Reply