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User Experience

Mobile Dark Patterns

By Steven Hoober

In addition to the misuse, misunderstanding, and bad implementations of perfectly good UX design patterns, we’ve long understood the concept of anti-patterns. These are things that we know don’t work well for users. We’ve clearly defined and documented them so we can avoid using them.

However, as much as I’ve studied the concept of pattern languages and libraries, as cynical as I am about how businesses use and abuse product design, I simply didn’t expect the rise of dark patterns. Dark patterns are design patterns that are effective, but evil. When they succeed, they drive users to make accidental or uninformed decisions against their best interests.

During the creation of dark patterns, there’s typically much argument that they are positive for the business, that they expose ideas and encourage behaviors that the average person would do. I don’t think I need to convince you that businesses often place their own success above that of users and that it is the job of UX professionals to remind everyone that user-centric design must also be moral, ethical, and unambiguously legal design. Read More

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