Are you familiar with the term, “dark patterns?” Perhaps you’ve experienced dark patterns and you didn’t even realize it. Or maybe you’re using dark patterns yourself to grow your customer base. So what are dark patterns? Dark patterns are features of interface design crafted to trick users into doing things they might not want to do, but which benefit the business in question. For example, if you’ve ever tried to delete your Amazon account, you will find that it is nearly impossible to find where to actually do so. The website takes you to many other actions, but won’t easily allow you to delete your account. These deceptive designs take advantage of you by making a page look like it’s used for one thing, when in fact, it’s used for a completely different thing.
Have you ever run a Facebook ad from your business manager page? If you have, you know that should you need Facebook’s assistance or support for your ad campaign, you’ll be taken through a rabbit hole and a number of clicks until you finally reach the support option. At this point, you’ll continue to be prompted by their AI bots to solve your problem on your own! This is extremely frustrating and time-consuming.
Harry Brignull invented the term “deceptive design” and started a campaign to raise awareness for users. He’s collected over 400 examples in his “hall of shame,” and the most commonly complained about companies are Google, Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn.
Make sure that the interaction that the user has with your website is honest! Help users find what they need and ensure your site is easy to navigate and user-friendly. For example, add your customer support number to the header of your website. Be available to contact as needed. If you promise a free guide, download, etc. – deliver on that promise without automatically assuming the user also wants 100 more offers from your company. Another great methodology I’ve used to provide a better customer experience is to implement design thinking in the customer journey. These are easy ways to stay reliable and keep your users coming back.
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