The internet has become full of dark patterns. These are often used in digital design with the purpose to trick the user into doing something not intented.
One pattern is dubbed ”Privacy Zuckering” after Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. It is the name for the action of systematically gathering data about the user meanwhile you assure the user that you are doing the complete opposite.
Other dark patterns are "Bait and Switch", "Disguised Ads", "Forced Continuity" and "Friend Spam". By now, you probably have an idea about what this is. There is nothing positive to say about it.
We do not like to be fooled, but how come so many people in marketing try to fool us anyway?
Sometimes, it just happens. Dark patterns can be a result of incompetence. As an example, it can be hard to find delivery prices or other fees on some e-commerce sites. Sometimes it is because the site was badly designed and at other times, the designers find it best to stow away all additional charges until checkout.
If you know anything about split testing and traffic measurement, you will know that hidden fees and charges do not work. When the customers discover the little surprise fee at checkout they leave their shopping basket and buy from the competitor instead.
Actually, most dark patterns only work for a set period of time and sometimes not at all. There is no reason to try to fool anyone. In the long run, better results are achieved by behaving properly.
Together with Trine Falbe and Kim Andersen, I have written a book about good user experience (UX). The book is about dark patterns and their counterpart, which we have called “white hat”. This resulted in the title “White Hat UX”.
Besides Trine’s good texts and Kim’s beautiful designs, the book is enriched with examples of harsh manipulation found on the internet, illustrations by Jovana Randjelovic, foreword by Aral Balkan and contributions from Amul Kalia and Andreas Ramos. Read more about the authors on the book’s website.
The book is available on Amazon and Saxo. It has also been published by Smashing Magazine, where both the hardcover edition and the e-book is available.