Ever feel like you’re being prompted into going along with something you don’t want because better options aren’t clearly being presented? You probably just found a dark pattern.

“Dark patterns” are designs that deliberately trick you into doing what a company wants. This can take all kinds of forms, from MoviePass not canceling people’s accounts to installers putting crapware on your machine by assuming you’ll click “Next” without thinking too much about it.

Being a geek is all about tweaking things to work the way you want, as opposed to going along with the defaults. Dark patterns deliberately make this harder, so it’s worth understanding how they work. Let’s look at a few examples and try to learn what this all means.

Confirm Shaming: Implying You’re Bad or Stupid

Confirm shaming is a recent trend, but a very annoying one. Website designers who want you to do something like subscribe to a newsletter write copy for buttons that make you feel like a terrible person for choosing the option you want. Like this:

That’s right: to unsubscribe, you have to click a link that implies you don’t care about your cat. It’s scummy. Note also that the opt-out is hard to see–small gray text on a white background.

This is all intentional. The manipulative popup like this makes it more likely that you’ll give out your email address, even if you feel gross about it. And the practice is all too common: the confirm shaming Tumblr has a lot more examples if you want to see more (but you’ll run into plenty just by browsing the web).

Bait and Switch

Sometimes you click a button intending to do one thing, only to discover you’ve done the opposite. This is the classic bait and switch.

Microsoft employed this trick back when it was pushing Windows 10 hard. At one point they offered two buttons: upgrade now or upgrade tonight.

Read more: https://www.howtogeek.com/363484/dark-patterns-when-companies-use-design-to-manipulate-you/


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