Web design can make an impact on a person’s purchasing decisions. But often, some companies might use deceptive means in their website to get customers to purchase their product or service. This is usually the work of Dark Patterns in website design.
What Are Dark Patterns?
Dark Patterns are misleading UX/UI interactions that trick users into doing something that they don’t even want to do. The term was coined in 2010 during the rise of e-commerce industries. By then, website designers and businesses began developing deceiving ways to manipulate users through misleading user interfaces.
You might be wondering, “how does that work?” Well, usually, when a person uses websites and apps, you might not read everything on the page, right? It can be too taxing. Deceptive companies and designers take advantage of that by making it say one thing (the thing that you want) but then, it leads to another (the thing you didn’t ask for).
Why Should You Watch Out for Dark Patterns in Website Design?
The effects of getting reeled into a dark pattern can range from a temporary annoyance to a more detrimental impact on your life. For one, yes, it can be an inconvenience when you accidentally buy something or purchase something from an e-commerce website that you did not intend to do. But, on the other end of the spectrum, your data could be stolen, and you might experience financial harm.
That’s why when you purchase an item online or plan to go through subscriptions that require your financial information, make sure to double-check the terms and conditions, offers, and other texts before you give away your information.
What Are the Types of Dark Patterns in Website Design That Users Should Watch Out For?
Dark patterns are actually not new. They’ve been around since the day of print. But in the age of the Internet where everything is fast-paced and automated, it can be easy to lure in more people through different types of Dark Patterns. According to darkpatterns.org, here are some of the most common types you have to watch out for:
Using Trick Questions
As you fill out a form, you respond to a question that tricks you into giving an answer you did not intend. At first glance, the question appears to ask one thing, but when you read it carefully it actually asks another thing.
This is most common when registering for a service, especially below the forms where there are checkboxes. Often, requests would be alternated with one check box that means to “opt-in” and the other to “opt-out” with the business using confusing language to trick their users.
This happens when the user’s attention is guided to a specific place when they won’t notice that something else is happening. This can happen to a lot of dark pattern website designs, especially with website designs that have cluttered elements and a lot of text.
We encourage you to double-check all the text you find on a website and make purchases at a time you are most free, so you don’t simply skim through the content and end up purchasing something you don’t really intend.
Adding Hidden Costs
Sadly, this is true for some paid services on the Internet. You get to the last step of the checkout process, but you find that you’ve had unexpected charges for the service or product you’ve purchased. This is usually taxes, delivery charges, and the likes.
This is one of the most common forms of dark patterns. These are paid advertisements disguised as other kinds of content or navigation so you can click on them.
This happens when the product asks for your email or social media permission under the pretense that it will be used for a desirable outcome. However, it uses your email or social media account to message your friends and make it seem like the message came from you.
This occurs when the design makes it easy for you to sign up for a product or service but makes it hard for you to get out of it. As much as possible, be careful when signing up for services and know first if they have a policy or instructions on how you can opt out easily from their service.
This happens when your free trial with a service ends and your credit card starts getting charged without any warning. Then, you will not be given an easy way to cancel the automatic renewal of your subscription.
Companies that do resort to this tactic get reported for unfair and deceptive trade practices and filed for lawsuits.
Companies use Confirmshaming when they guilt the user into opting into something. The option to decline is stated in such a way that shames the user into complying with the request. It’s one of the most commonly used tactics for mailing lists, and it’s usually found in exit-intent modals and other pop-ups.
If you see buttons that show “No thanks, I don’t want to subscribe to this mailing list,” then you’ve come across a Confirmshaming dark pattern.
Named after Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, this tactic tricks users into publicly sharing more information about themselves rather than they intended to.
This was named after the CEO of Facebook because, in the early days, the social media platform had a reputation for making it difficult for users to control their privacy settings. This made it easier to “overshare” their data by mistake. However, in response to outcry from consumers and privacy groups, Facebook has updated its platform to make the privacy settings clearer and easier to use.
These are just some of the dark patterns you should watch out for on the Internet. Of course, as the Internet continues to evolve, dark entities are going to continue creating ways to trick users into sharing their data or even pester them with marketing advertisements.
As a user, you must be careful when signing up for services online and sharing your data with them, especially if it involves your financial information.
A Company’s Responsibility to Using Website Design with Integrity
As much as possible, we encourage companies and website developers alike to create website designs with UX and UI that benefit users. Let us create a safe space for our potential customers and clients to engage in our content and do their transactions by making sure that we secure their data.
Trust is crucial for any company. When customers build relationships with brands, it solidifies their trust and opens doors for new customers. Should you need a reliable online marketing company to help you create a website that can benefit your clients or customers, you can count on our professionals at Proweaver to help you.
How Proweaver Can Help You with Website Design
We have professional graphic designers and website developers who not only have extensive experience in creating user-friendly, high-converting websites but also put to practice ethical design in every project that they do. Our company believes in helping our clients create brands for themselves built on trust and integrity.
In addition, we also have a team of online marketing specialists that can boost your online visibility and help you get more engagements from your target market.