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Thread: Dark Patterns: dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff

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    Dark Patterns: dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff

    Anyone come across this before?

    "Normally when you think of "bad design", you think of laziness or mistakes. These are known as design anti-patterns. Dark Patterns are different – they are not mistakes, they are carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind."

    Dark Patterns: User Interfaces Designed to Trick People
    - video

    We've all experienced 'pre-selected' tick boxes for newsletters etc, I wasn't aware that it was called 'dark patterns' though, very interesting video.

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    akirk (16 March 2012), aneil4lom (18 July 2012), Clinton (16 March 2012), Fish (17 March 2012), grynge (17 March 2012), Kay (16 March 2012), TheodoreK (16 March 2012)

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    Excellent! I liked the bit about Ryanair. The way he presented it was funny but it was also quite an eye-opener. I'd definitely like to read or listen to more from that guy. Harry Brignull? It's not a name I've come across before.
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    The slideshow was long, but I agree it was interesting. I poked around a bit and read some of the other activities he calls "Dark Patterns". I hope that the webmasters on this forum steer away from such tactics.

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    Well, a big part of what Harry Brignull was saying in his presentation was that the design industry should be regulated and there should be clear codes of practice. Such a thing would make it easier for designers to say "no" to their clients or bosses when they ask for something unethical to be done on their behalf.

    Also, if websites were obliged to follow such codes of practice, then wouldn't it be easier for the likes of G to weed out the dross? Ha ha, pigs might fly but even so it's worth thinking about.
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    I read everything before I pay for something, so if I can then other people should, I think maybe the world is becoming too much of a nanny state. If I logged into a site and they tricked me into whatever they wanted and dropped stuff in my cart, I would just dump that site and never return. If a product says $30 and my cart jumps to $130 I would do the same. If I can do it other people should be able to do it. On the other hand if the cart says $30 and they charge my card $130 then that is a criminal act which should be punished, but alas here in Australia if its a large company that makes such a mistake all that might happen is you get a refund.

    If you are too busy or too stupid to read what you are signing up for then you shouldn't be signing up for it in the first place.
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
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    But some people are too stupid to know they're stupid. That's why they need a nanny. But I agree, the nanny state does go too far sometimes. Even so, it's necessary to regulate some industries, such as medical professionals, financial and legal advisers, plumbers, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    But some people are too stupid to know they're stupid. That's why they need a nanny. But I agree, the nanny state does go too far sometimes. Even so, it's necessary to regulate some industries, such as medical professionals, financial and legal advisers, plumbers, etc.
    Absolutely but how far do we go? Are we going to regulate every last bit of our lives? Australians are probably the most over regulated country in the world, everytime 1 person does something stupid we have to ban everybody from doing it.

    Why does the buck always have to be passed onto the people who take the time to make sure they aren't being swindled? If we always protect the morons they will never learn.

    One of the hardests things I find to do as a father is let my kids make mistakes, but I do, you will never learn by someone else's mistakes only by those you make yourself.
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
    Non ducor, duco

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    I love how the Dark Patterns OP evolves into a conversation about the Nanny state. I agree with both of you and I it's hard to tell the necessary regulation from the over protection sometimes.

    I also agree that there seems to be less personal responsibility being taken in some cultures than perhaps were true in the past. That needs to change, sometimes it IS your fault....

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    (Point taken JJ...we'd better get back on topic.)

    Do people think there should be some regulation in the design/development field? Of course, it would be impossible to police such a thing. Never mind jurisdictions and trying to enforce it, people will just move to countries (either physically or virtually) where they can get away with it. That's why I never quite understand when you see news stories about some big American guy being jailed for dirty tricks. I can't figure out why he stayed in the States if he was making so much money from his spammy/scammy activities. He could have operated his empire from somewhere in the Far East or even Eastern Europe.

    The "dirty tricks" referred to in this thread are perfectly legal. It's a question of ethics. Is it really unethical to increase your bottom line by parting fools from their money? And even if it is, how is it possible to legislate for ethics? I suppose professional bodies do it to some extent. That's why you so rarely get rogue accountants or lawyers, because they're regulated by their professional bodies. LOL.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    (Point taken JJ...we'd better get back on topic.)
    No no not at all, I love it when threads evolve. Let it go where it goes... if enough people want it to stay on OP topic, that'll come through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    Do people think there should be some regulation in the design/development field? Of course, it would be impossible to police such a thing. Never mind jurisdictions and trying to enforce it, .
    There are plenty of laws that websites have to comply with but I've never seen them enforced and it doesn't cover issues like Dark Patterns (love that name). I'd imagine that contract law would cover you accidentally buying something you didn't want because the shop pre-selected it or added it to your cart without you noticing.

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