Consumer’s Reader: What are Dark Patterns and Why Do We Need to Know About Them - Part 6

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 models and their characteristics. In the fourth, we explained why these dark models are so effective and destructive, and we began to divide them into groups to make it easier for us to identify them. We explained the meaning of sneak into basket, comparison prevention and misdirection. Then we talked about what the bait and switch, Confirmshaming, framing and disguised advertisements models are. We do not stop there, because dark patterns are many and varied. See what else there is.

Taxonomy of dark models

  • Ease, named after ease bias, a type of cognitive error in which you choose the easy instead of the reasonable. You agree to the cookie policy because right now you don't care to click a button where you will read long text and explanations on how to turn off all or part of cookies. If they offer you a Learn More link when they make you agree to track your geographic location through an app, it may be worth clicking and refusing to share this information, though there's a lot to read about it.
  • Hidden information refers to options or actions that are right for you, but are not really easy to find right away. They can be written in long text in small print. Another option is to give up something that seems impossible. A very drastic form of this dark model is to disguise the ability to change settings through an icon that is only visible when hovering the mouse over it.
  • Default settings. This is not always exactly a dark pattern, but it is good to look for bookmarks placed in advance. You may end up subscribing to a newsletter that spams you every day if you're not careful. It is even worse if this newsletter has such a design that even when you see a subject, it imposes discomfort or guilt on you. "You have hair on your legs?" Gee, you will remain single for life!
  • Forced continuity If you get annoyed when you want to test a service, they let you do it for free, but they also want your credit card information, this is it. So, I stopped using the iPhone forever. In order to get an update, they wanted me to give my credit card details. What's worse with this dark pattern is when you subscribe for a month of free use, they make you give your credit card details and then without warning, you start to get a bill with monthly payments, simply because you forgot that the deadline with the free one has passed and you had to unsubscribe.
  • We have forced disclosure or security blackmail when a free or cheap service requires additional or redundant disclosure of personal data for the purposes of the service. Again, I remember agreeing to share a geographical location to use an app that makes your photos as funny as cartoons. What do they need to know where you are? To show you ads that are like for your neighborhood.
  • Forced action and timing (captive audience or the milk factor). It's a way to get you to take a specific action now and here to gain or continue a functionality you want. You are in a hurry to grab a good price, because today is the end of Black Friday, but this online store hides half the screen with a text to agree with cookies policy, which if you do not want to accept, you will spend half an hour looking for where to turn them off and how not to accept, with which you can miss the promotion.


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


Published on 04.04.2022 Back to news