Dark UX Design

Dark UX Design – Leveraging User Research to Mislead

As app developers we talk often of the importance User Experience (UX) design, but in this post our hope is to make you aware of its less noble counterpart called Dark UX Design. Dark UX design, or dark patterns, are features of interface design crafted to trick users into doing something they might not want to do, but which benefit the business in question.

As a refresher, UX design at its best anticipates users’ needs and objectives, as well as their assumptions and behaviors, in order to increase the usability, accessibility, and enjoyment of a product. Typically, creating such benefits for the user also ultimately benefits the company as the product is often more successful as a result.

Dark UX design also seeks to understand the the user, and make intentional, well crafted design decisions. Unfortunately, as noted, the aim of these decisions is often to persuade, mislead, or otherwise encourage the user to partake in the company’s objectives, perhaps to the detriment of their own.

As the rules of an ever-changing technology industry continue to evolve, we are seeing consumers push back against such design choices, essentially asking designers to hold to high ethical standards. They are demanding transparency and accountability – the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a perfect example of this, with its emphasis on privacy by design. Read More

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