The user is faced with barriers or hurdles, making it hard for them to complete their task or access information.


Obstruction is a type of deceptive pattern that deliberately creates obstacles or roadblocks in the user's path, making it more difficult for them to complete a desired task or take a certain action. It is used to exhaust users and make them give up, when their goals are contrary to the business's revenue or growth objectives. It is also sometimes used to soften up users in preparation for a bigger deception. When users are frustrated or fatigued, they become more susceptible to manipulation.


Facebook used an obstruction technique by making it easy to agree to privacy-invading settings but difficult to reject them. Facebook's interface had a button to “accept and continue” with just one click, but to reject the settings, the user had to click an unclear button and toggle a switch to the left. This made it confusing for users, and they couldn't be sure if they successfully protected their privacy. (Image source: Norwegian Consumer Council, 2018)


Price comparison prevention (Brignull, 2010), hard to cancel (Mathur et al., 2019), roach motel (Brignull, 2010).

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