Ever Spotted a Dark Pattern?
This is when visitors are deliberately manipulated, into doing things they didn’t intend.
Known as Dark Patterns, these are created by the black hats of UX.
As we scan more and ‘deep-read’ less, we’re wide open to exploitation via Dark Patterns. This high risk sales technique of deliberate customer deception is as old as selling itself.
I was fortunate enough to go to Senior UX Architect Rory Watts’ presentation earlier this month at a UX Fail Meetup in London.
Here’s his excellent Slideshelf. Thank you for sharing Rory.
Higher price options are offered, making the ‘basic’ price seem like a bargain. With 3 options, labelling the mid-range option the ‘most popular package’ also discourages visitors from picking the cheapest.
At the end of Sky’s sign up form sits an unchecked checkbox. It states “Sky may contact you about products and services you may like unless you click to opt out”. How many leave this unchecked, failing to read beyond “Sky may contact you about products”!
Sneak into Basket
Weaponising design, to add extras into your shopping basket, without your awareness. Extras are added ‘below-the fold’, using pre-selected check boxes and discrete fonts.
Bait and Switch
Customers are attracted to goods that are bargain priced. They are then substituted for low quality or high price goods prior to purchase. So, think Ryanair’s hidden essential ‘extras’. Quite rightly, ‘Bait and Switch’ is illegal, in the UK.
As Old as Delboy
Bait and Switch was in plain sight, during the early 1990’s recession.
In London’s Oxford Street, empty shops would be temporarily filled, by real life Del Boys.
Nicknamed ‘Mock Auctions’, their own Rodneys and Mickeys would be in the crowd ‘buying’ valuable goods at record low prices. Then once they hooked in a genuine punter, with real money, they’d switch to a junk lot.
Dark Patterns offer short-term gain often long-term brand dis-loyalty. Hence, once duped, visitors may never return again. So, it’s something we should all be aware of.