In our Interaction Design class we have been learning about dark patterns and how deceptive they can be. We were asked by our teacher to write about our opinions in response to an article about dark patterns. I chose to write about how the concerns raised in this article will effect our future career as graphic designers.
One thing I thought of right away was how the rules might be different by the time I graduate. The laws might change to prevent dark patterns from occurring in the first place. Since technology and the internet is becoming more and more popular, there are more people of all age groups using the internet and falling for its dark pattern websites. Having so many more people will mean more complaints, and it will become more noticeable and vocal — the government would want to take charge and place new laws.
Since dark patterns seems to be increasing in popularity (due to increased amounts of internet users), graphic designers will have to learn how to avoid using it — either accidentally or purposely — and learn to steer their clients away from going “deception crazy”. We strive to help our clients’ businesses thrive, and they cannot thrive if strong dark patterns are steering clients away.
“[B]linkered and over-zealous A/B testing may actually be causing the web to evolve toward dark patterns. The lesson here is that you should never rely on a single method and a single metric to understand your customers. Their opinions, feelings, and trust in your company are far more broad ranging than their behavior in a single split-second on your website.”
That being said, when I graduate, I think I should be careful not to entirely fall into the “norm” of today’s graphic design. I should still incorporate a little bit of the old tricks. For example, in the article Harry Brignull said that another method we can use on top of others is to include “face-to-face usability testing” to prove that the product works or that the company is very friendly. If done right, you can impress many customers with just one or two videos and gain cliental quickly. I, for one, have often found myself sucked into some of those interesting testimonial video advertisements on YouTube.
In the end, I think I should simply wait until I get to that point. Technology changes so quickly that it is hard to prepare three years in advance for something that might change in a couple months.
A list of dark patterns:
Special thanks goes to my Interaction Design teacher for teaching me about dark patterns and linking me to the proper websites.