Dark Patterns: dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff

An article on dirty tricks in design. One interesting tidbit plucked from the comments:

You could pick pretty much any element of the Ryanair website, but a particular favourite of mine, if you could call it that, is the way they subtly force you to buy travel insurance. The question is labelled as “Buy Axa travel insurance”, but the select field has a default value of “select country of residence”.

Buried in the middle of the options, which are almost in alphabetical order, is the option “No travel insurance required” – between Latvia and Lithuania!

I ran some usability testing with this site and a number of similar sites for a client of mine (not Ryanair) and almost every participant simply accepted they had to buy travel insurance, because they were blind to this option.

Horrendous, immoral, but quite clever at the same time…

The other ones are certainly worth a look too. Got any favorites?

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3 Responses to “Dark Patterns: dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff”

  1. dusoft says:

    Just bought the ticket from them yesterday and god, it was horrible experience. Excatly the point you noticed is the worst usability nightmare. Unethical, but certainly clever way to forc eeveryone to buy it (I haven’t, but had to check the pulldown three or four times to find that option).

  2. tsick says:

    SuperBetting.com is running a promo where users can register for a ‘free sport tshirt’, but unless you click on the T&C link and read the terms (which most people have because accustomed to not doing) you won’t see these two points:

    6. Contest is closing at 1st September
    7. Postage and delivery charge are charged to the recipient

  3. cz says:

    I found this today, very related:

    https://usability4evil.wordpress.com/