Deceptive Design – formerly

What is deceptive design?

Deceptive design patterns (also known as "dark patterns") are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn't mean to, like buying or signing up for something. The purpose of this site is to spread awareness and to shame companies that use these patterns.

How does deceptive design work?

When you use websites and apps, you don’t read every word on every page - you skim read and make assumptions. If a company wants to trick you into doing something, they can take advantage of this by making a page look like it is saying one thing when it is in fact saying another. You can defend yourself by learning about deceptive design on this site.

View types of deceptive design ›

Who uses deceptive design?

Deceptive design ("dark patterns") is a rapidly growing area of research, particularly in the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Law. We've put together a big reading list for you to get up to speed.

View the hall of shame ›

Where can I learn more?

We've collected about 400 examples in our hall of shame. The most commonly complained about companies are Google, Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn.

View the reading list ›

Can I buy the book?

A book on deceptive design by Harry Brignull is coming soon. Harry has been successfully campaigning against deceptive design ("Dark Patterns") since 2010, and his terminology is now employed in various laws and regulations – including the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). With more regulatory changes on the horizon, there's never been a more important time to understand the nature of deceptive design.

Book coming soon! ›