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Unmasking Dark Patterns in UX: A Guide to Ethical Web Design

Published: June 22, 2023
Unmasking Dark Patterns in UX: A Guide to Ethical Web Design | Biondo Creative Web Design Services

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In the user experience (UX) world, a term has been gaining attention lately: dark patterns. These design choices benefit the business, often at the user’s expense. This blog post will delve into dark patterns, how they’re being used, and how to avoid them in your web design.

Dark patterns are the opposite of what we strive for in good UX design. When we create user experiences, we aim to benefit the user by making the process as easy and frictionless as possible. However, dark patterns are designed to benefit the business, often making things more difficult for the user.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Amazon of making it easy for people to subscribe to Prime but difficult to unsubscribe. This is a classic dark pattern: it benefits the business by keeping people engaged and paying the subscription fee, but it can frustrate users and even lead them to abandon the service. 

The FTC has noted a rise in these sophisticated dark patterns. Some other examples include disguised ads, where the content appears to be useful but is an ad; difficult-to-cancel subscriptions, such as The Wall Street Journal’s subscription service; buried terms and conditions, including early cancellation fees; and tricks to obtain data, where businesses offer something of perceived value in exchange for personal information.

These practices can lead to user frustration and mistrust, ultimately harming your business. So, how can you avoid using dark patterns in your web design? The key is always to prioritize the user. Ensure your terms and conditions are clear and upfront, make it easy for users to unsubscribe or cancel services, and be transparent about how you use their data.

At Biondo Creative, we specialize in creating user-friendly web designs that prioritize the user experience. We believe that a good UX design benefits both the user and the business, and we’re committed to helping our clients achieve this balance.