A List Apart

Issue № 338

Dark Patterns: Deception vs. Honesty in UI Design

by Harry Brignull · 20 Comments

Deception is entwined with life on this planet. Insects deceive, animals deceive, and of course, we human beings use deception to manipulate, control, and profit from each other. It’s no surprise, then, that deception appears in web user interfaces; what is surprising is how little we talk about it. All the guidelines, principles, and methods ethical designers employ to design usable websites can be subverted to benefit business owners at the expense of users. Study the dark side so you can take a stand against unethical web design practices and banish them from your work.

Expanding Text Areas Made Elegant

by Neil Jenkins · 29 Comments

An expanding text area is a multi-line text input field that expands in height to fit its contents. Commonly found in both desktop and mobile applications, such as the SMS composition field on the iPhone, it’s a good choice when you don’t know how much text the user will write and you want to keep the layout compact; as such, it’s especially useful on interfaces targeted at smartphones. Yet despite the ubiquity of this control, there’s no way to create it using only HTML and CSS, and most JavaScript solutions have suffered from guesswork, inaccuracy, or a lack of elegance "¦ until now.

More from A List Apart


Lyza Danger Gardner on Building the Web Everywhere

How Do We Get It Done, Now?

In the future that’s forever one short year away, brilliantly functional, widely implemented APIs will redeem us from our toil and trouble. We just have to get ready for their coming, while seeing to the nitty-gritty of making the web work in the present. Sadly, it's a lot less predictable than that. Every new standard has to start small, and we’ll always need to choose which API to back and which to pass over.

From the Blog

Writing to Think

It's true, writing about your work can be tough. Putting your thoughts out there for everyone to see—and comment on—can be intimidating. But, as Susan Robertson shows, it's a great way to clarify your thinking on tough problems, and can lead to new opportunities in the process.

On Our Radar: Each Button, a Special Snowflake

What grabbed our attention this week? We’re glad you asked. We’re digging the new design standards being shared by 18F and USDS; reading up on accessibility in design (and the notorious PDF!); learning to run better meetings; noodling around with responsive typefaces; and championing better ways to read the comments. Also, somebody likes raccoons. We think. We think that's what they meant.