Deceptive Design – formerly

Reading list

In honor of National Bad Poetry Day, I dedicated some limericks to @darkpatterns

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"There was one a man from Rizal, who wanted to cancel Adobe's free trial. He opened his account, only to find out, he'll owe thousands - if he does - tragical"

Caye | Aug 21, 2022

Aug 21, 2022

Choice Australia looks at the deceptive practices ("dark patterns") that companies use to manipulate our online shopping behaviour.

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The Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) found that more than eight in 10 Australians (83%) have lost money, lost control of their data or have been manipulated by a business to make a choice that isn't in their interest.

Chandni Gupta | Aug 21, 2022

Aug 21, 2022

Have you ever heard the term #DarkPatterns ? Here you can see some examples of how they are usually presented (Spanish language)

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"Recently, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted for public consultation its 'Guidelines [...] These guidelines, like the AEPD guide, take article 5.1.a of the RGPD as a starting point to assess when a design pattern in a user interface corresponds to a dark pattern."

Asedico | Aug 06, 2022

Aug 06, 2022

“Dark pattern”, “nudge”… Are we manipulated on the Internet? (French Language)

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"On the Internet, traps aim to make us click where we don't want to. The English-speaking world calls them “dark patterns” – or “rigged interfaces”. What is the difference with the nudge , which aims to guide our actions by acting on “the architecture of our choices ”? Where is the line between influence and manipulation?"

Philosophie Magazine | Aug 06, 2022

Aug 06, 2022

"A very real @darkpatterns that I've seen in multiple previous jobs."

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"Because of a bug in the code somewhere, you end up showing the wrong discounted price in the cart until checkout. [...] this bug actually increases conversion. [...] The bug is now a "feature".

Seth Newman | Aug 06, 2022

Aug 06, 2022

"Only 1 available and it's in 6 people's carts."

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"So what do you want us to do, fight?"

James | Aug 06, 2022

Aug 06, 2022

LINC case study on dark patterns, blurred information and settings scattered to the four winds.

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This case study is part of a mediation effort by the LINC on the design of interfaces. It translates in the form of a fictitious service decisions made by the CNIL in order to make them clear and accessible.

LINC | Jul 29, 2022

Jul 29, 2022

The future of cars is a subscription nightmare

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Heated seats, remote start key fobs, and other creature comforts are likely to be subject to monthly or annual fees

Andrew J. Hawkins | Jul 13, 2022

Jul 13, 2022

What Makes a Dark UI Pattern? (Video)

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Introductory video about Dark Patterns by NNgroup

NNgroup | Mar 11, 2022

Mar 11, 2022

If you think all design is manipulation, please stop designing

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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.".

Cennydd Bowles | Jan 31, 2022

Jan 31, 2022

The Rising Human Cost of Sports Betting

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"The bitter truth of addiction is obscured by the smarmy ads and compromising relationships, and yet federal oversight is downright nonexistent."

Kurt Streeter | Jan 31, 2022

Jan 31, 2022

Cancelling NYT subscription is unnecessarily hard.

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"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."

Gergely Orosz | Dec 21, 2021

Dec 21, 2021

Food packaging deception: "Slack-fill"

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"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" | Dec 21, 2021

Dec 21, 2021

What does a future without dark patterns look like?

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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.

The Greens / EFA | Dec 14, 2021

Dec 14, 2021

Toyota owners have to pay $8/mo to keep using their key fob for remote start

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Feature requires subscription even though it doesn’t use connected services.

Tim De Chant | Dec 13, 2021

Dec 13, 2021

The Media Manipulation Casebook

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A digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.

Joan Donovan | Jul 09, 2021

Jul 09, 2021

Checking in on Fast.

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For those of you that don’t know, Fast is a one-click and login checkout tool. To date, they’ve been primarily focused on ecommerce sites which puts them up against the likes of Shop Pay, Apple Pay and other simple purchase solutions...

Chris Frantz | Mar 12, 2021

Mar 12, 2021

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A not-for-profit project building a collaborative, online directory of ethical companies of all kinds.

| Feb 04, 2021

Feb 04, 2021

End User Accounts of Dark Patterns as Felt Manipulation

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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.

Gray, C. M., Chen, J., Chivukula, S. S., & Qu, L | Feb 01, 2021

Feb 01, 2021

Navigating Fake News, Alternative Facts, and Misinformation in a Post-Truth World

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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.

Dalkir, Kimiz; Katz, Rebecca | Feb 28, 2020

Feb 28, 2020

Ethics in Design and Communication

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"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."

Scherling, Laura; DeRose, Andrew | Feb 20, 2020

Feb 20, 2020

Design for Cognitive Bias

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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.

David Dylan Thomas | Jan 01, 2020

Jan 01, 2020

Privacy in the EU and US: Consumer experiences across three global platforms

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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.

Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue | Oct 01, 2019

Oct 01, 2019

‘Double nudge’ encourages employers to offer flexibility, in turn boosting job application rates

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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.

| Sep 01, 2019

Sep 01, 2019

Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems

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"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."

MacDonald, Diana | Jun 27, 2019

Jun 27, 2019

Most cookie banners are annoying and deceptive. This is not consent.

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Article on how dark patterns in cookie banners are not legally valid consent mechanisms under the GDPR.

Privacy International | May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

Online Manipulation: Hidden Influences in a Digital World

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Academic paper on online manipulation and its harms to individuals and social institutions.

Daniel Susser, Beate Roessler, Helen Nissenbaum | Dec 23, 2018

Dec 23, 2018

Nudge, not sludge

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Richard Thaler argues that "negative nudging" should be called "sludging".

Richard Thaler | Aug 03, 2018

Aug 03, 2018

Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success

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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.

Ellis, Sean; Brown, Morgan | Apr 25, 2017

Apr 25, 2017

Scanning Patterns on the Web Are Optimized for the Current Task

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"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."

Pernice, Kara | Mar 19, 2017

Mar 19, 2017

Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.

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The American Psychological Association provides its members with these strict Ethical Principles, and a Code of Conduct.

Author unknown | Jan 01, 2017

Jan 01, 2017

The Cognitive Bias Codex

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A diagram of over 200 Cognitive Biases, grouped by theme.

Benson, Buster; Manoogian, John | Sep 01, 2016

Sep 01, 2016

Tragic Design: The True Impact of Bad Design and How to Fix It

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"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?"

Shariat, Jonathan; Savard Saucier, Cynthia | Apr 25, 2016

Apr 25, 2016

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

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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").

Eyal, Nir | Nov 04, 2014

Nov 04, 2014


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"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."

Keenan, Thomas | Aug 01, 2014

Aug 01, 2014

Irresistible apps: Motivational design patterns for apps, games, and web-based communities

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"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."

Lewis, Christopher Francis | Mar 13, 2014

Mar 13, 2014

Don't Make Me Think

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"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."

Krug, Steve | Jan 09, 2014

Jan 09, 2014

The psychology of fatigue: Work, effort and control

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"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..."

Hockey, Robert | Jun 01, 2013

Jun 01, 2013

The Scarcity Bias

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"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."

Mittone, Luigi; Savadori, Lucia | Jun 09, 2009

Jun 09, 2009

Predictably Irrational, Revised: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

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A classic and highly readable book on Behavioural Economics by Dan Ariely. Helped inspire the concept of "Dark Patterns".

Ariely, Dan | Mar 05, 2009

Mar 05, 2009

Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness

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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.

Thaler, Richard H.; Sunstein, Cass R. | Apr 08, 2008

Apr 08, 2008

How people read on the web: the eyetracking evidence

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"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."

Nielsen, Jakob; Norman, D. A.; Pernice, Kara; Whitenton, Kathryn; Nielsen, Jakob | Jan 01, 2006

Jan 01, 2006

The sunk cost and concorde effects: Are humans less rational than lower animals?

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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.

Arkes, Hal R.; Ayton, Peter | Jan 01, 1999

Jan 01, 1999

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

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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)

| Apr 01, 1998

Apr 01, 1998

How users read on the Web.

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"People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences."

Nielsen, Jakob | Sep 30, 1997

Sep 30, 1997

Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to Write for the Web

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"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."

Nielsen, Jakob; Morkes, John | Jan 01, 1997

Jan 01, 1997

NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS Adult Literacy in America Third Edition A First Look at the Findings of the National Adult Literacy Survey

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"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."

Kirsch, Irwin S.; Jungeblut, Ann; Jenkins, Lynn; Kolstad, Andrew; Secretary, Richard W. Riley; Robinson, Sharon P.; Secretary, Assistant | Aug 30, 1993

Aug 30, 1993

A Simple Model of Herd Behavior

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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.

Banerjee, Abhijit V. | Aug 01, 1992

Aug 01, 1992

Rationality in Psychology and Economics

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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."

Simon, Herbert A. | Oct 01, 1986

Oct 01, 1986

A study of some social factors in perception

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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.

Sherif, M. | Jul 01, 1985

Jul 01, 1985

The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice

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"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.

Tversky, Amos; Kahneman, Daniel | Jan 30, 1981

Jan 30, 1981

Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk

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"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."

Kahneman, Daniel; Tversky, Amos | Mar 01, 1979

Mar 01, 1979

Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases

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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.

Tversky & Kahneman | Sep 27, 1974

Sep 27, 1974