Dark Patterns and avoiding negative user actions

What are dark patterns?

A dark pattern is a term used in user experience design that means making a user action deliberately hard to achieve. Some examples of actions some companies put behind dark patterns are closing accounts, withdrawing money or unsubscribing from a mailing list.

Other types of dark patterns

Not all dark patterns are intentionally hard to follow, some dark patterns can be the opposite. If you want a user to purchase more credits on your game, you would make the purchase button the same shape, colour and size of the games primary buttons, thereby prompting the user to click there to continue.

Designers also use tricks such as adding a purchase or sign up button in the same spot after a long list of ‘next’ buttons. Sometimes a user may be taken to a page that they didn’t decide to navigate to.

Amazon, the greatest example

Amazon’s main priority is ensuring you have an account, it’s why Prime is such great value for money. It’s for this reason that makes closing your Amazon account one of the best examples of a dark pattern online. Here’s the steps to closing your amazon account:

  1. Open Amazon
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  3. Click ‘Help’
  4. Click ‘Need more help?’
  5. Click ‘Contact us’
  6. Click ‘Prime and more’
  7. Click ‘Please make a selection’
  8. Click ‘Close my account’
  9. You will then have to email, phone or live chat with an Amazon assistant who can close your account for you.


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