LONDON – The User Experience UK Awards has launched a new ‘Dark User Experience Award’, where they are inviting the public to nominate organisations using dark patterns within their user experiences.
Described as “great UX for a terrible cause”, the purpose of the Dark UX award isn’t to call out bad design (such as shoddy websites or out-of-date visuals); it seeks to name and shame the companies who knowingly use dark patterns within their online experiences to deliberately trick or mislead users into actions they would not have taken otherwise.
A ‘dark pattern’ is an element of a user interface specifically designed to persuade the user into performing a certain action, regardless of whether this was the user’s original goal or will be beneficial to them. Dark patterns have been the subject of increasing scrutiny over the past year, with Facebook, for example, coming under-fire for manipulating users into not only sharing their data but also not being transparent regarding how this data was being used once they had done so. Legislation such as GDPR aims to rein companies in from taking advantage of consumers, but smaller dark patterns – such as invisible unsubscribe buttons – are harder to police. Other examples of ‘dark patterns’ that companies are putting to use include apps / services requiring users to enter their credit details in order to start a ‘free’ trial, relentless (and unnecessary) pop-up ads or notifications encouraging the user to open the app and carefully ‘hidden’ unsubscribe buttons on web pages and within marketing emails.
John Goodall, Senior User Experience Designer said, “Most of us have come across websites that have tricked us into buying something or signing up for something, just by the way the interaction has been designed.
With so much talk about companies being seen to do the right thing by their customers, we thought it was time we introduced a category to the UXUK Awards to call out those who are deliberately using effective design to benefit their own interests over those of their customers.”
The ‘winner’ of the Dark UX Award will be announced at the annual UXUK Award ceremony, taking place on 22 November this year in central London. Submissions are open till 28 September 2018.
The UXUK Awards was launched in 2013 to celebrate the best user experience and service design work available to a UK audience. Winners have included Beano Studios, the BBC and TFL. This year the awards will be judged by UX experts from Google, F1, British Airways, BT, Lloyd’s Banking Group, Sainsbury’s – and others.
Visit their website to submit a nomination, or for more information, contact: