Dark Patterns on the Internet

Published on 27 May 2021 | Updated on 24 May 2022
Written by Pranav Chakkarwar
3 min to read


What are Dark Patterns?

Majority of websites on the internet exist to extract every last buck from your wallet. You will provide your valuable and personal information to get free eBooks, discount coupons, or something else. But, once you sign up or make a purchase, they will always keep you in the loop and make every effort to stop you from opting out!

Imagining some scenarios will help you appreciate my viewpoint.

  • Suppose you no longer wish to receive emails from a newsletter, you are searching for an unsubscribe link. Unfortunately, many newsletters disguise the link by changing its color to match the rest of the content. As a result, unsubscribing becomes more difficult.

  • Are you subscribed to amazon prime? If yes, let your prime membership expire, and Amazon will silently add it to your cart in the hopes that you are stupid and wealthy enough to buy it with your next order.

  • Even though the GDPR has set restrictions for cookie banners, even the most popular websites just display a “I accept” button and make it hard for the user to block the unnecessary cookies. Even if you try, websites like WIRED.COM are simply too stubborn to give user a choice to stop the tracking.

Worst wired.com cookie banner implementation

  • Wanna delete your Instagram account? You can look in the Account settings or the Privacy and security settings or any other settings, but it isn’t there. The only way to get rid of it is to go to their help centre and follow a lengthy process. During the process Instagram will manipulate you at every step to prioritize temporary suspension and stop you from deleting your account. Even if you complete the deletion process, be ready for more manipulative emails with account recovery links.

Avoid Using Dark Patterns

In most circumstances, using dark patterns will cause more harm than good, making the user’s experience worse. This could result in a never returning user or even worse, influence others to avoid your platform. These aspects are critical if your company is just getting started, but it doesn’t imply the major players are immortal. In 2015 Linkedin’s dishonest design cost it $13 million.

In case of newsletters, If an user cannot locate the link, they may mark the email as spam. As a result, your domain’s reputation will suffer. Now you can expect more of your communications to end up in the spam folder as a result of your bad reputation. So, what’s the sense of having a large number of subscribers if they can’t read your emails?

Conclusion

These dark pattern examples should give you a decent notion of how important a design process is. Remember! It not just the visuals that count but the whole experience of an app or a website. So, it’s better to avoid incorporating dark patterns into your platform and instead improve the user’s experience. You can read more about dark patterns on darkpatterns.org

That's it!

I hope you enjoyed this article, as there are no ads, no trackers, no paywall, no shilling, no affiliate links, and no intentional bias, but I'm not perfect. Feel free to send your feedback.