In this article and associated twitter thread Cennydd Bowles opines that design is not manipulative by definition. In his words: "Design influences. It persuades. But if it manipulates, something’s wrong.".
"The bitter truth of addiction is obscured by the smarmy ads and compromising relationships, and yet federal oversight is downright nonexistent."
"Cancel anytime" actually means "you need to call a phone number, wait for someone to pick up and *maybe* you can cancel then. Or not."
"Slack-fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein." "A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be MISLEADING if it contains [...] slack-fill"
In a world with the EU Digital Services Act, online platforms must design web services in a way that does not trick users into giving away their personal data. If they fail, they’ll be held accountable.
Feature requires subscription even though it doesn’t use connected services.
A digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.
A not-for-profit project building a collaborative, online directory of ethical companies of all kinds.
This paper provides the end-user perspective of the felt manipulation without directly using the language of dark patterns, but the examples illustrating some strategies that align with dark patterns defined in the literature.
A book featuring research on human and automated methods to deter the spread of misinformation online, such as legal or policy changes, information literacy workshops, and algorithms that can detect fake news dissemination patterns in social media.
"Designers face the same challenges as everyone else in the complex conditions of contemporary cultural life-choices about consumption, waste, exploitation, ecological damage, and political problems built into the supply chains on which the global systems of inequity currently balance precariously. But designers face the additional dilemma that their paid work is often entangled with promoting the same systems such critical approaches seek to redress: how to reconcile this contradiction, among others, in seeking to chart an ethical course of action while still functioning effectively in the world."
In Design for Cognitive Bias, David Dylan Thomas lays bare the irrational forces that shape our everyday decisions and, inevitably, inform the experiences we craft. Once we grasp the logic powering these forces, we stand a fighting chance of confronting them, tempering them, and even harnessing them for good.
Comparative study on the privacy practices of Amazon, Spotify and Netflix in the EU and the US. Also looks at the use of dark patterns.
Interesting case study from the UK's Behavioural Insights team (aka "nudge unit"). NOT a dark pattern, obviously! But very relevant because the same methodology and techniques are used to create and optimise dark patterns.
"Gain product design foundations by bringing design processes to light, especially for growing organizations with evolving design systems. Fast-track design work by providing practical examples of patterns for a variety of real-world purposes. Level up the breadth of your skills and understanding by illuminating user experience design concepts, such as usability, accessibility, microcopy, motion design, and information architecture."
Article on how dark patterns in cookie banners are not legally valid consent mechanisms under the GDPR.
Academic paper on online manipulation and its harms to individuals and social institutions.
Richard Thaler argues that "negative nudging" should be called "sludging".
Growth teams are often responsible for implementing Dark Patterns. This book gives an insight into how they think. Most if not all of their methods can be used in a perfectly benign manner.
"How users attend to information on a page depends on their tasks and goals, as confirmed by new eyetracking research. Good design promotes efficient scanning. In usability studies, (biased) task formulation may tip users to discover features."
The American Psychological Association provides its members with these strict Ethical Principles, and a Code of Conduct.
A diagram of over 200 Cognitive Biases, grouped by theme.
"Bad design is everywhere, and its cost is much higher than we think. In this thought-provoking book, authors Jonathan Shariat and Cynthia Savard Saucier explain how poorly designed products can anger, sadden, exclude, and even kill people who use them. The designers responsible certainly didn’t intend harm, so what can you do to avoid making similar mistakes?"
This book is controversial in that it takes BJ Fogg's psychological model and applies it a new model that facilitates addiction (aka getting "hooked").
"In Technocreep, Dr. Keenan explores some of the most troublesome privacy-invasive scenarios encountered on the web and offers users a number of excellent, practical ideas on how best to protect their privacy and identity online."
"When you create an app, a website, or a game, how do you get users, and perhaps more importantly, how do you keep them? Irresistible Apps explains exactly how to do this using a library of 27 motivational design patterns and real-world examples of how they work."
"Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject."
"Fatigue can have a major impact on an individual's performance and well-being, yet is poorly understood, even within the scientific community. There is no developed theory of its origins or functions, and different types of fatigue (mental, physical, sleepiness) are routinely confused. In the first book dedicated to the systematic treatment of fatigue for over sixty years, Robert Hockey examines its many aspects - social history, neuroscience, energetics, exercise physiology, sleep and clinical implications..."
"Two experiments provided empirical support for the scarcity bias, that is, when the subjective value of a good increases due to the mere fact that it is scarce."
A classic and highly readable book on Behavioural Economics by Dan Ariely. Helped inspire the concept of "Dark Patterns".
A book by Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. It draws on research in psychology and behavioral economics to defend libertarian paternalism and active engineering of choice architecture.
"The findings in this 412-page report are the culmination of three large-scale eyetracking studies spanning 13 years, involving over 500 participants and more than 750 hours of testing session time."
The authors contend that there are no unambiguous instances of the sunk cost (aka concorde) fallacy in lower animals. They also find that young children, when placed in an equivalent economic situation, exhibit more normatively correct behaviour than do adults.
In appendix A of the classic paper "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine", Brin and Page argue against advertising as a business model for their search engine (which later became Google)
"People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences."
"Studies of how users read on the Web found that they do not actually read: instead, they scan the text. A study of five different writing styles found that a sample Web site scored 58% higher in measured usability when it was written concisely, 47% higher when the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was written in an objective style instead of the promotional style used in the control condition and many current Web pages. Combining these three changes into a single site that was concise, scannable, and objective at the same time resulted in 124% higher measured usability."
"This report provides a first look at the results of the National Adult Literacy Survey, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and administered by Educational Testing Service, in collaboration with Westat, Inc. It provides the most detailed portrait that has ever been available on the condition of literacy in this nation -- and on the unrealized potential of its citizens."
We analyze a sequential decision model in which each decision maker looks at the decisions made by previous decision makers in taking her own decision. [...] We then show that the decision rules that are chosen by optimizing individuals will be characterized by herd behavior.
In this paper, Herb Simon introduces the idea that "the knowledge and the computational power of the decision maker are severely limited" and "we must distinguish between the real world and the actor’s perception of it and reasoning about it."
Muzafer Sherif was a Turkish-American social psychologist who helped develop social judgment theory and realistic conflict theory. This is his PhD thesis. In chapter 3, he reports the famous autokinetic movement experiments.
"Framing" occurs when people make choices based on whether the options are presented as positive (a gain) or negative (a loss) connotations. This classic research paper provides evidence.
"This paper presents a critique of expected utility theory as a descriptive model of decision making under risk, and develops an alternative model, called prospect theory. Choices among risky prospects exhibit several pervasive effects that are inconsistent with the basic tenets of utility theory."
A heuristic is a rule of thumb or "cognitive shortcut" that humans use to make decisions. Heuristics are prone to biases, i.e. mistakes that we are all prone to making. This classic paper from 1974 explains three heuristics and associated biases.