Dark Patterns: Deception vs. Honesty in UI Design

by Harry Brignull

20 Reader Comments

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  1. I agree that many websites are using deceptive techniques (save the worst for last) but the good guys should shame their more nefarious competitors. I’d love to see websites stating “we do not charge a credit card processing fee – why should we?” and I’m sure customers would react positively.

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  2. Marketing gets a bad reputation because scammers use marketing and some marketer push the boundaries.

    Marketers can learn from these examples and increase response rates, affect customer behaviours… but should think about the long-term.

    Long-term your image, reputation, trustworthiness and a loyal customer base who are willing to recommend you is a more sustainable business model.

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  3. This is a really interesting article. As a junior website designer with a highly honest firm that aids in website design and branding for small businesses, I feel as though we tend to naturally and unknowingly steer away from dark patterns. And it seems like this issue is more prevalent with ecommerce and larger businesses. But because honesty and straight-forward language is a very integral part of designing an honest, successful website, this is a great reminder to keep this idea in mind when designing to make sure customers of our clients fully understand the nature of our clients business. Thanks for a fascinating thought-evoking article!
    @BopDesignSD

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  4. Delta.com is very sneaky and charges a $420 international travel fee (yes, no kidding) to make the “price” of the ticket seem lower. Moreso durig the checkout process they make it seem like it’s an additional fee to the government imposed TSA security fee (which by comparison is a lot smaller). The initial reaction is to get pissed at the govt. and think that all airlines have it, but it reality it’s just what Delta charges directly in addition to the “price”. Beware!

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  8. I agree with some of the sentiment expressed in the article.  But the kind of ‘deception’ being used here seems no different to any other form of marketing or sales technique.

    I suppose the question is should web professionals really try to hold themselves and their clients to a higher standard than the rest of the marketing/sales world.

    Yes, sometimes it pays off if your site gets a reputation for being particularly honest, but in general you’re just throwing sales opportunities away – and most of us aren’t in that business.

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  10. I think it is plainly honest, but I wonder what your view is?

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