title: Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns are common patterns used to deceive the users of a website or web application.

Examples include:

  • Bait and Switch – A user sets out to do one thing, but a different, undesirable thing happens instead.
  • Disguised Ads – Advertisements disguised as other kinds of content or navigation, in order to get users to click on them.
  • Confirmshaming – Confirmshaming is the act of guilting the user into opting in to something. The option to decline is worded in such a way as to shame the user into compliance.
  • Forced Continuity – Silently charging a user’s credit card without warning at the end of a free trial.
  • Friend Spam – A website or app asks for a user’s email or social media permissions under the pretense it will be used for a desirable outcome (e.g. finding friends), but then spams all the user’s contacts in a message that claims to be from that user.
  • Hidden Costs – User arrives at the last step of a checkout process, only to discover some unexpected charges appear, e.g. delivery charges, tax, etc. that were not disclosed prior to processing the user’s payment.
  • Misdirection – The design purposefully focuses a user’s attention on one thing in order to distract their attention from another.
  • Price Comparison Prevention – An online retailer makes it hard for visitors to compare the price of an item with another item, so they cannot make an informed decision.
  • Privacy Zuckering – Users are tricked into publicly sharing more information about themselves than they really intended to. Named after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Roach Motel – The design makes it very easy for users to get into a certain situation, but then makes it hard for them to get out of it (e.g. a subscription).
  • Sneak Into Basket – A user attempts to purchase something, but somewhere in the purchasing journey the site sneaks an additional item into their basket, often through the use of an opt-out radio button or checkbox on a prior page.
  • Trick Questions – Users are made to respond to a question, which, when glanced upon quickly appears to ask one thing, but if read carefully, asks another thing entirely.

A catalog of Dark Patterns along with a continuously updated list of real-world examples is mainatained at darkpatterns.org.

This article needs improvement. You can help improve this article. You can also write similar articles and help the community.