Trick wording

The user is misled into taking an action, due to the presentation of confusing or misleading language.


The trick wording deceptive pattern takes advantage of user expectations and ambiguous language to mislead and deceive users. It is normal for users to scan-read when they are online, as a way to cope with the sheer volume of information they are faced with. This means they don't read and dwell on every word on every page. Trick wording usually takes advantage of the scan reading strategy, by making a piece of content look like it is saying one thing, when in fact it is saying something else that is not in the user's best interests.


From 2010 to 2013, low-cost airline Ryanair used the trick wording deceptive pattern. During the flight booking process, Ryanair presented users with the instruction "Please select a country of residence" written prominently on a dropdown menu. If read on its own, users were likely to just select their country of residence from the dropdown and continue with their booking process. However, in doing so they would have inadvertently purchased travel insurance.
For a user to choose not to purchase travel insurance, they were required to open the dropdown and scroll down to the label "No travel insurance required" which was nonsensically listed between two countries: Latvia and Lithuania.
As you can see, Ryanair combined trick wording with the visual interference deceptive pattern to confuse and misdirect users.


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