How many times has this happened to you when you are shopping for stuff on a website:
o services, subscriptions, donations, newsletters etc. are snuck into your checkout cart
o the process of unsubscribing from services is made very difficult and complex
o confusing UI elements are used to misdirect you and hide information
o hidden charges are tacked on your purchase at the checkout
o advertisements are masked as content or user reviews
o a false urgency is created to push you into quick purchases
All these are examples of what are known as “dark patterns”. These are deceptive design tactics commonly found in digital and online interfaces. They are employed to mislead users or deprive them of their agency, coercing them into actions they wouldn’t otherwise be willing to undertake.
In a welcome step towards protecting consumers from such deceptive design practices, the government has recently unveiled draft guidelines that prohibit the use of dark patterns and make it an offence under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these draft guidelines in this article by BQ Prime.
Read the full article here