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Cover image for Have you ever created something that can be considered a "dark pattern"?

Have you ever created something that can be considered a "dark pattern"?

adrianbdesigns profile image Adrian Bece ・1 min read

What is a dark pattern?

Dark Patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn't mean to, like buying or signing up for something.

www.darkpatterns.org

Here is the list of various Types of dark patterns.

And here are some of the examples of it:

Dark pattern

Alt text of image

Question for you

In the spirit of Halloween, I want to know if you have ever been asked to create or have created something sinister as a dark pattern (by accident or on purpose)?

My experience

I'm surprised to say that, even though I have worked in the eCommerce business for 4 years, I've never been asked to create something that would trick the customer into signing up for something or buying something that didn't want. From my experience, good merchants will always work hard to earn and keep their customer's trust.

Posted on Jun 17 by:

adrianbdesigns profile

Adrian Bece

@adrianbdesigns

React, Frontend, Magento 2 certified developer. Magento PWA Studio contributor. Rock and metal music fan. Reads Dune, sci-fi novels and Calvin & Hobbes. Creates amazing interfaces @ prototyp.digital

Discussion

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I consider most ad tech a dark pattern, since it tracks your users and sells that information. Apart from that there's button hierarchy, gamification features and basically "whatever you can do to increase conversion".
Having been in e commerce for 6 years, I implemented my fair share of dark patterns. It ended up being one of the reasons that made me abandon e commerce.
I'm sorry, internet.

 

You know one of the most frustrating things? Free trials that turn into monthly subscriptions. "Put your credit card in and forget about it so we can make money off of you."

 

I understand that a valid CC is a good gatekeeper from spammy accounts, but you're right. It is frustrating. I usually avoid those services unless they offer something no other competitor comes close to.

Here's the funny thing: thinking about it, I'm way more inclined to accept "30-days Full Refund no questions asked" than "Free trial but give me your card", even though the former is objectively more troublesome for all parties.

 

Yeah, those are really sneaky. I wonder if this is borderline illegal practice or is it somehow completely justified in the eyes of the law.

 

I mean, it tells you that after the trial your credit card will start getting charged.

True. But, it's still annoying if you're like me and have a horrible memory.

I guess that makes sense. Maybe the solution could be to remind the user 7, 3 and 1 days before the trial ends.

I've taken to setting up a reminder for myself a few calendar days before any trial ends and include a link to the trial unsubscribe in the event notes.

Usually, I usually decide it's not worth it (especially after projecting yearly cost)

Some sites are friendly enough to send an email reminder, but I never count on it.