ARTICLE SUMMARY: Dark patterns is a carefully crafted trick to get users to do something they might not otherwise do.

While they should be banned not all dark patterns are banned, only those that have “the substantial effect of subverting or impairing a consumer’s choice to opt-out” of schemes where their personal data is being sold. That still leaves the user a lot to keep an eye out for.

In this article Sara Morrison gives us a good understanding of what a dark pattern is and how to recognize it. Some of the things to look out for are

  • The drugstore account you have to create to get a vaccine appointment but can’t easily cancel
  • The marketing email that commands you to respond within the next five minutes or else, and includes a fake countdown timer
  • The big pop-up window urging you to sign up for a website’s newsletter with a big red “Sign Me Up” button, while the opt-out button is much smaller and passive-aggressively implies that anyone who clicks is a bad person who doesn’t care about saving money or staying informed

Along with the examples “DARK PATTERNS, THE TRICKS WEBSITES USE TO MAKE YOU SAY YES, EXPLAINED” also provides links to help you “see” what dark patterns look like in an effort to help you more readily identify them.

There is a lot of time, effort and psychology used to separate the user from their money, information or both, this article should be read by all to help prevent users from becoming victims.

Let us know what you think in the comments.