UI Battles: Dark Patterns Coming
Before talking about cunning tricks of Black Hat or Dark Pattern and its influence on users, first we should mention the main common notion of this term. So the Dark Pattern is a set of various techniques and “devices” which are targeted user to do something easily manipulating his/her actions.
If we think about using “deceptive techniques” in our everyday life, you’ll be definitely surprised as we are facing with them more often than you think. Kids importune to give some sweet stuff, TV advertisement that compels you to buy some suspicious products, marketing offer that presents some needless and silly bonuses, etc. All these examples confirm the above-mentioned assertion about using various methods of psychological influence which become more advanced and deliberate in our days. Some of us practice these methods in their work-a-day activity and there are hundreds of professions where these deceptive techniques are adopted…
Let’s see the most common examples of Black Hat UI tricks we can notice day by day:
Looking at this example, each YouTube user gets frustrated and annoyed. Whether you want it or not you’ll have to couple seconds of those ads, luckily there is a “Skip Ad” button, but still such road blocks are really horrible Dark Pattern.
In some cases the use of frames, explains the “necessity” to show user some page elements like banner or navigation. Frames are a thorn in the eye of the user, so why do we need to distract him/her? Actually, frames confuse users and make them unconfident which URL send to a friend, how to add something to the favorites, etc. Chances to lost your visitor are very high, especially if he/she doesn’t see the navigation after reading the article or has a low resolution screen. That’s why frames should be used in cases where small space needs to comprise a lot of information.
The process of forced disclosure presumes entry of data that is absolutely unnecessary for the operation. At the following example you can see Yahoo Hotjob’s application system where you are required to fill out all profile information, but this is not strictly important as the information needed for your job application is included in the cover letter and resume.
And after clicking “continue”, your profile information is automatically published, it means that headhunters can find your information in their database. But you have no choices as you have to go to the “My Resumes” section and then click “Make all of my resumes unsearchable”.
You can find a great number of various resources on the web that asks for your twitter or email accounts to log on the website. Actually this process simplifies registration since all your credentials are copied. But there is one disadvantage in these systems as they send out bulk messages using your account.
This method is old as the world. Traditionally user gets interested and attracted by one thing, but he/she easily jumps at the bait and receives completely another thing. Look at the following screenshot of the website’s homepage:
From the first sight, the website seems to be trustfully, but in real it hides lots of deceptions for the applicant. The first thing that grabs your attention is a big number 50k+. Seeing it, users absolutely ready to do anything to get the promised 50k+ job, but…
User starts to complete the form, but it’s not the finish. He/she needs to create an online CV? But even after that he/she is redirected to the page that offers you to UPGRADE!
Here is a similar project for job applicants. At a first glance, nothing foretells the trouble…
The word FREE on the front page baffles users, and after finishing all steps we’ll see the following:
Here you can view great slideshow about Black Hat UI techniques which is created by Harry Brignull. So check it to avoid possible baits you may get into.