Dark patterns - An Overview for Brand Owners

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This talk was given at the Madgex Innovations Event (December 2010) at the Soho hotel in London.

It’s a revised version of the original Dark Patterns talk given at UX Brighton 2010, containing a fair amount of new material, and a different intended audience: this talk is aimed at marketers and brand owners.

Published in: Technology, Design

Dark patterns - An Overview for Brand Owners

  1. 1. DARK PATTERNSDirty marketing tricks that can harm your brand
  2. 2. As a brand-owner, what’s one of the worst things that could happen?
  3. 3. Marissa MayerVP, Search & User ExperienceGoogle
  4. 4. Everyone wants to improve their conversion rates - This in itself is healthy.100 755025 0 October November December January
  5. 5. HONEST PATTERN DARK PATTERNCandid Persuasion Tricks and traps
  6. 6. DARK PATTERN: FRIEND SPAM• Users don’t like their “voice” to be co-opted without their permission• Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Friend_Spam
  7. 7. CreditExpert
  8. 8. “Having requested credit card details “tocomplete the report” I then find that theyhave taken 2 x payments of £7.99 fromthe card without my authority. Thesepeople are [...] devious and unscrupulous[...] obtaining revenue by small printdeception.” http://www.reviewcentre.com/review738914.html
  9. 9. DARK PATTERN: FORCED CONTINUATION• Users don’t like surprises in their credit card bills!• Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Forced_Continuity
  10. 10. DARK PATTERN: TRICK QUESTIONS• Users hate deceitful forms - they feel scammed, regardless of whether it’s legal!• Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Trick_Questions
  11. 11. All Dark Patterns have one thing in common:POOR EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT
  12. 12. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING:Why should I care about this stu ?
  13. 13. Your organisation is probably using tricks like thiswithout you realisingYou need to replace these Dark Patterns withHonest Patterns!
  14. 14. MADGEX CASE STUDYHow we used honest patterns to deliver great conversion rates for our job board email alerts
  15. 15. • About 9 years ago, our SEARCH RESULTS PAGE User clicks “email me jobs like these” original job board platform required users to register to create email LOG-IN / REGISTER PAGE User clicks register alerts• User Experience research REGISTRATION PAGE showed huge potential User completes registration form, for improvement• Analytics showed Email EMAIL ACTIVATION User checks email, clicks link alerts give DOUBLE the application rates our clients were getting from EMAIL ALERT CREATION PAGE organic tra c User fills in form
  16. 16. Bottleneck
  17. 17. We had lots of options
  18. 18. OPTION 1: SET EMAIL ALERTS TO OPT-OUT
  19. 19. OPTION 1: SET EMAIL ALERTS TO OPT-OUTBenefit: Inflate alert creation rateCost: Annoying for users who feel tricked
  20. 20. OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS FOR ALL SEARCHES
  21. 21. OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS FOR ALL SEARCHES This is what primelocation.com does for logged in users
  22. 22. OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS FOR ALL SEARCHES This is what primelocation.com does for logged in users Benefit: Massively inflate alert creation rate Cost: Massively annoying for users who feel tricked
  23. 23. OPTION 3: BROADEN USERS’ SEARCH CRITERIA SO EMAIL ALERTS ARE ALWAYS SENT“We couldn’t find you any matching jobs in Brighton today, so we emailed you some jobs in Birmingham instead...”
  24. 24. OPTION 3: BROADEN USERS’ SEARCH CRITERIA SO EMAIL ALERTS ARE ALWAYS SENT“We couldn’t find you any matching jobs in Brighton today, so we emailed you some jobs in Birmingham instead...” Benefit: Inflate number of emails sent Cost: Users ask for one thing but get another
  25. 25. OPTION 4: REMOVE REGISTRATION BARRIERBenefit: Inflate alert creation rateCost: there is no cost, everybody’s happy!
  26. 26. HONEST PATTERN DARK PATTERNCandid Persuasion Tricks and traps
  27. 27. So, we went for option 4: removing theregistration barrier from email alert creation.We also removed the barrier from email alert deletion.
  28. 28. DID OUR USAGE OF HONEST PATTERNS PAY OFF?
  29. 29. June 2010
  30. 30. June 2010×2
  31. 31. June 2010
  32. 32. June 2010×2
  33. 33. Massive uplift in email alert creationZero complaints from users regarding email alerts
  34. 34. YOUR WEBSITE’S USER INTERFACEDEFINES YOUR BRAND’S PERSONALITY.
  35. 35. YOU GET TO CHOOSEWHO YOU WANT TO BE.
  36. 36. THANK YOUHarry Brignull - http://darkpatterns.org

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