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17th January 2024 (10 Topics)

Dark patterns: How design tricks manipulate users


Dark patterns are the manipulative architects of the online journey, guiding users through misleading prompts, subtle traps, and, at times, even forcing them into unintended actions.

Dark Patterns in Online User Experience

  • Introduction to Dark Patterns: Dark patterns manipulate users into unintended actions, exploiting the vast internet landscape with misleading prompts and traps.
  • Coined Term and Evolution: The term 'dark patterns' by Harry Brignull in 2010 refers to methods misleading users into giving money, time, or personal information.
  • Digital Privacy Concerns: Dark patterns exploit users' lack of awareness, fraudulently retrieving personal information, emphasizing the need for regulatory guidelines.

Legal Responses and Regulatory Measures

  • Global Legal Framework: California, EU, and Australia have laws addressing consent issues and preventing misuse of data privacy by online services.
  • FTC's Actions and Consumer Protection in India: FTC's actions against Amazon highlight privacy violations, while India's Consumer Protection Act 2019 and guidelines combat dark patterns.
  • Impact of Indian Regulations: India's guidelines ban 13 dark patterns, leading to potential lawsuits against e-commerce platforms for misleading practices.

Ethical User Interface Practices: Building Trust and Transparency

  • Transparency and Trust: Transparent disclosure of promotional content, costs, and fees fosters trust in the online world.
  • User Autonomy and Respectful Communication: Businesses should respect user autonomy, avoiding pre-selection of options and using respectful communication to enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Credibility and Substantiation: Upholding ethical standards involves substantiating claims with evidence, contributing to a trustworthy brand image in the online business landscape.
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