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DARK PATTERNS
Dirty marketing tricks that can harm your brand
As a brand-owner, what’s one of the worst
        things that could happen?
Marissa Mayer
VP, Search & User Experience
Google
Everyone wants to improve their conversion rates
           - This in itself is healthy.

100




 75




50




25




 0
 October      November      December       January
HONEST PATTERN      DARK PATTERN



Candid Persuasion   Tricks and traps
DARK PATTERN: FRIEND SPAM

• Users don’t like their “voice” to be co-opted without their
  permission

• Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Friend_Spam
CreditExpert
“Having requested credit card details “to
complete the report” I then find that they
have taken 2 x payments of £7.99 from
the card without my authority. These
people are [...] devious and unscrupulous
[...] obtaining revenue by small print
deception.”




  http://www.reviewcentre.com/review738914.html
DARK PATTERN: FORCED CONTINUATION

• Users don’t like surprises in their credit card bills!

• Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Forced_Continuity
DARK PATTERN: TRICK QUESTIONS

• Users hate deceitful forms - they feel scammed, regardless
  of whether it’s legal!

• Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Trick_Questions
All Dark Patterns have one thing in common:



POOR EXPECTATION
  MANAGEMENT
I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING:
Why should I care about this stu ?
Your organisation is probably using tricks like this
without you realising

You need to replace these Dark Patterns with
Honest Patterns!
MADGEX CASE STUDY
How we used honest patterns to deliver great
  conversion rates for our job board email
                   alerts
•   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
Bottleneck
We had lots of options
OPTION 1: SET EMAIL ALERTS TO OPT-OUT
OPTION 1: SET EMAIL ALERTS TO OPT-OUT




Benefit: Inflate alert creation rate
Cost: Annoying for users who feel tricked
OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS
             FOR ALL SEARCHES
OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS
             FOR ALL SEARCHES



    This is what primelocation.com does
             for logged in users
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
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...”
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
OPTION 4: REMOVE REGISTRATION BARRIER




Benefit: Inflate alert creation rate
Cost: there is no cost, everybody’s happy!
HONEST PATTERN      DARK PATTERN



Candid Persuasion   Tricks and traps
So, we went for option 4: removing the
registration barrier from email alert creation.

We also removed the barrier from email alert
                deletion.
DID OUR USAGE OF HONEST PATTERNS
            PAY OFF?
June 2010
June 2010




×2
June 2010
June 2010




×2
Massive uplift in email alert creation

Zero complaints from users regarding email
                   alerts
YOUR WEBSITE’S USER INTERFACE
DEFINES YOUR BRAND’S PERSONALITY.
YOU GET TO CHOOSE
WHO YOU WANT TO BE.
THANK YOU
Harry Brignull - http://darkpatterns.org
Dark patterns - An Overview for Brand Owners

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Dark patterns - An Overview for Brand Owners

  • 1.
  • 2. DARK PATTERNS Dirty marketing tricks that can harm your brand
  • 3. As a brand-owner, what’s one of the worst things that could happen?
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10. Marissa Mayer VP, Search & User Experience Google
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 16. Everyone wants to improve their conversion rates - This in itself is healthy. 100 75 50 25 0 October November December January
  • 17. HONEST PATTERN DARK PATTERN Candid Persuasion Tricks and traps
  • 18. DARK PATTERN: FRIEND SPAM • Users don’t like their “voice” to be co-opted without their permission • Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Friend_Spam
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25. “Having requested credit card details “to complete the report” I then find that they have taken 2 x payments of £7.99 from the card without my authority. These people are [...] devious and unscrupulous [...] obtaining revenue by small print deception.” http://www.reviewcentre.com/review738914.html
  • 26.
  • 27.
  • 28.
  • 29. DARK PATTERN: FORCED CONTINUATION • Users don’t like surprises in their credit card bills! • Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Forced_Continuity
  • 30.
  • 31.
  • 32.
  • 33.
  • 34.
  • 35.
  • 36. DARK PATTERN: TRICK QUESTIONS • Users hate deceitful forms - they feel scammed, regardless of whether it’s legal! • Read more: http://darkpatterns.org/Trick_Questions
  • 37. All Dark Patterns have one thing in common: POOR EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT
  • 38. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING: Why should I care about this stu ?
  • 39. Your organisation is probably using tricks like this without you realising You need to replace these Dark Patterns with Honest Patterns!
  • 40. MADGEX CASE STUDY How we used honest patterns to deliver great conversion rates for our job board email alerts
  • 41. 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
  • 43. We had lots of options
  • 44. OPTION 1: SET EMAIL ALERTS TO OPT-OUT
  • 45. OPTION 1: SET EMAIL ALERTS TO OPT-OUT Benefit: Inflate alert creation rate Cost: Annoying for users who feel tricked
  • 46. OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS FOR ALL SEARCHES
  • 47. OPTION 2: AUTOMATICALLY CREATE EMAIL ALERTS FOR ALL SEARCHES This is what primelocation.com does for logged in users
  • 48. 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
  • 49. 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...”
  • 50. 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
  • 51. OPTION 4: REMOVE REGISTRATION BARRIER Benefit: Inflate alert creation rate Cost: there is no cost, everybody’s happy!
  • 52. HONEST PATTERN DARK PATTERN Candid Persuasion Tricks and traps
  • 53. So, we went for option 4: removing the registration barrier from email alert creation. We also removed the barrier from email alert deletion.
  • 54. DID OUR USAGE OF HONEST PATTERNS PAY OFF?
  • 59. Massive uplift in email alert creation Zero complaints from users regarding email alerts
  • 60. YOUR WEBSITE’S USER INTERFACE DEFINES YOUR BRAND’S PERSONALITY.
  • 61. YOU GET TO CHOOSE WHO YOU WANT TO BE.
  • 62. THANK YOU Harry Brignull - http://darkpatterns.org