"[Dark patterns are] carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind."

User interface elements purposely designed to confuse the user


Fri, Feb 13th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On The Verge, user experience designer Harry Brignull explains dark patterns, the system in which a user interface is purposely made obscure in order to confuse the user and get them to sign-up or pay for a membership. Disappointing to discover that Apple employs these same tricks.

Marketing emails use this tactic all the time. You've probably seen this before. After you register to access something on the web, you're asked if you want to be placed on a mailing list. This particular approach is fairly standard but isn’t hugely effective because users have to take an explicit action to opt in. Chances are they’ll be in a hurry and a proportion of users won't even notice this text. Some websites use mandatory radio buttons with neither option (yes or no) preselected. This way the user can't get on to the next page without making an explicit choice. This in itself is still above-board. But if we think back to our anti-usability principles, we can see how not calling attention to this choice can be used to trick us into choosing something we don't actually want.

For instance, post-office.co.uk is designed to not draw any attention to the option, hoping that that you opt in by mistake. Here, a tick means no. It’s kind of clever because culturally, a tick is an affirmative action.



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