Consumer’s Reader: What are Dark Patterns and Why Do We Need to Know About Them - Part 4

In the first part of this post, we demonstrated how everyone encounters dark patterns because they have become part of the normal functioning of most platforms and sites, and we have given a definition for them. In the second part, we answered the question why we should talk about them, since we are so used to their application. In the third part we talked more about the harm of dark patterns and their characteristics. Now it's time to explain why these dark patterns are so effective and destructive. We will divide them into groups to make it easier for us to identify them.


Dark patters use the rational limitations that are inherent in humans, including cognitive bias or weaknesses of some users - children, adults, disadvantaged people, as well as heuristic models. You can read about limited rationality in our publication CONSUMER READING BOOK: WHAT IS BOUNDED RATIONALITY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT?

So, it's time to point them out and identify these dark patterns so that we can recognize them when they are used on us.

Taxonomy of dark patterns

  • Sneak into basket, also called Chameleon Strategy, inertia selling or negative option billing. This happens during a customer journey, as a product sneaks in as an extra choice in the basket, without us actually choosing it or entices us to take something else, simply because it is on a terrible promotion or it is very cheap. In this way, our account grows by a small amount, but the profits of the online store increase dramatically due to the critical mass of misled users. If you are wondering what a customer journey is, you can read in the publication TRADE LEADERS’ HANDBOOK: WHERE IN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY STANDS THE ADR - PART 1
  • Comparison prevention, or so-called comparison obfuscation, is a practice that prevents the consumer from comparing the price with that of another product and thus prevents the consumer from making a rational purchase decision. If it has happened to you that you are charged for a service by a telecom operator or electricity supply, so that you cannot understand how much you pay for each element and wonder if it makes sense to change the provider or not, this is something like that.
  • Misdirection or also attention diversion or aesthetic manipulation. The user's attention is deliberately directed to one option in order to deviate from another. This can be done with some color codes, enlarging fonts so that you can more easily see the other option, and the more advantageous for you not to notice it. You don't want to subscribe to a newsletter on a site you visit casually and for a while, but the huge annoying window offers you a clear well defined YES button that you agree to subscribe to next to a almost invisible and gray and translucent Now which seems like you cannot tick on it.


In the next, fifth part of the post, we continue with the grouping of dark patterns. Follow it in the News of


Published on 19.03.2022 Back to news