A deceptive pattern is an attempt to persuade users to do things they might not otherwise do. This type of dark patterns in UX design makes it difficult for users to express their actual preferences.
Thus manipulating users them into taking actions that are inconsistent.
From Marketing mailings you didn’t realize you signed up for till repeated messages that you receive are some common situations.
Are there any products or newsletters you’ve signed up for that automatically deduct from your credit card when the free trial period ends? Have you noticed that it’s difficult to unsubscribe from that product as well? The pattern is deceptive, isn’t it? Harry Brignall coined the term “dark patterns in UX” in 2010 to draw attention to this practice and build support for bringing it to light.
He said it is,
“a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.”
The importance of a good UX design is always a priority for UI designers & hence, they avoid dark patterns.
The person crafting the dark pattern has deep understanding of human psychology.. Therefore, there are no rooms for mistakes or errors.
Brignull further listed 10 types of dark patterns in UX design on his website –
- Bait and Switch
- Disguised Ads
- Forced Continuity
- Friend Spam
- Hidden Costs
- Price Comparison Prevention
- Roach Motel
- Sneak into Basket
- Trick Questions
Here are the most common ones :
Bait and Switch
The first page of search results displays only the most basic prices for each date. As the user cycles through the dates, the information shifts dramatically to a higher price range.
One of the best “bait and switch” examples is when a user sees a large number of price changes. It sends a clear message to customers and users alike that the business doesn’t value their time or effort.
The name of this style of advertising is also an example of dark pattern in UX.
A sneaky tactic known as “Forced Continuity” involves luring customers in with the promise of a free trial while simultaneously requiring them to provide their payment card information.
After the conclusion of the trial, they will begin to face charges. There is no option to opt out of having their credit card automatically charged, there is no reminder, and there is no simple way to cancel the automated transaction.
An example of Forced continuity. Giving a free trial and asking for credit card details to use later.
Sneak into Basket
Many times, customers are tricked into buying more than they intended to by sneaking things into their shopping carts without their knowledge. This is called ‘Sneak into basket’.
For example, a charity payment is made on your behalf when you purchase a flight through the Dutch Royal Airlines website. It’s a case of dark pattern in UX since they don’t openly ask you about it and try to deceive you into accepting it, even though we believe this is an environmentally responsible move to do.
This is similar to a supermarket employee secretly putting items into your shopping basket, which only come to light when you reach the checkout, if they ever do so in the first place.
Consequently, you may wind up purchasing something you don’t want or need if you don’t carefully review all the information before completing the transaction.
Poor User/Customer experience
In a survey by Hubspot, more than 80% of people said they’d stopped doing business with a company because of a bad customer service experience with that organisation. Customers always have the option to go to another provider if they are not satisfied. Customers are more aware now, than they used to be.
It’s not uncommon for companies to put their faith in user experience design techniques they believe will clog their sales process. Users, on the other hand, are more informed than ever before. They prefer content that is clear and uncomplicated.
Even word-of-mouth marketing will play a role if your brand gives customers what they want without any plans or tricks. Using dark patterns in UX on the other hand will inevitably lead to abandonments if they are prevalent at any point in the process. Even Facebook and LinkedIn have been questioned occasionally for their use of such practices.
Lose customer loyalty
If your brand continues to use tricks and gimmicks that don’t speak to the user’s interests, you’ll lose the trust and loyalty of your customers. If you keep up your unethical behaviors’, you’ll lose even your first customers.
Ironically, brands are using dark patterns in UX to attract more visitors, which leads to an increase in the size of their databases. However, they overlook the fact that users prefer to flee when they spot dark patterns.
Increasing leads and conversions with dark patterns in UX may be possible, but it does nothing to improve the user experience or encourage users to make well-informed decisions, which should be the ultimate goal of any business. Dark patterns, in fact, do more harm than good.
The approach at Hie HQ for creating a perfect design should be ethical and give full freedom to the users to make their own choices without interfering and swaying their choices. Afterall, a good user experience is what we’re looking for!
Note : Statistics taken from www.hubspot.com
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1. Is it illegal to use dark UX patterns?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as laws change frequently and could vary depending on your location. However, generally speaking, dark UX design patterns are not illegal in most cases. This is because they typically use darker colors and more muted tones to create a more user-friendly interface that is easier on the eyes. In some cases, these designs may also incorporate elements such as shadows or linework that makes things look less harsh.
If you’re unsure if using dark UX design patterns is legal where you live, it’s best to check with your local authorities beforehand.
2. What are some of the examples of dark UX designs?
Some common dark UX design examples include burying important information deep within the page, making it hard to find or navigate, and using hidden menus or toolbars that are difficult to access. In some cases, designers may choose to use dismal colors or stark contrast in order to create a feeling of intimidation or sadness. These tactics can have a negative impact on user experience and ultimately lead people away from your website instead of closer towards it.