Shifting Away From Dark Mobile UX Patterns

The role of a user experience designer involves being aware when an app is manipulating you. People who are not in the field tend to have these occurrences happen where they are compelled to buy a particular thing or achieve a desired outcome in the app.

Good user experience designers constantly reevaluate these events and consider what is happening, which is fun for the Impekable design team to decode.

For example on sites like LinkedIn, they have a rank for each profile based on views. LinkedIn’s UX suggests things to add to your profile like skills to generate more views to your profile. Encouraged behavior through design is present in almost every service we interact with on a daily basis to create a behavior loop desired by companies. This ensures that users will keep coming back to the platform and revisit and check for updates.

Practicing dark design patterns are manipulative behaviors you’re trying to induce like give the user incentive to do something illegal or compromise their well-being. This doesn’t have to be intentional either, for dark UX patterns can occur from simple oversights. Like how Waze almost got a family lynched as a result of directing them into hostile territory or caused a firefight that resulted in 10 injured and 1 dead.

Source: Pinterest

Designers need to think ethically as well when we’re looking at things like these, so we don’t turn to the dark side. It is the duty of the UX design and development team to benefit users while catering to the needs of the business. They are guiding people through a journey of an app, so it is their responsibility on how best to do that.

At the same time, startups and other mobile app companies have to draw the line so that it would make sense for the business. News sites have to put in ads every so often so that they can feed themselves to bring you the good news.

If everyone involved in the venture as a whole benefits from an action, it is likely worth doing. This includes the users, designers, investors, support staff, and anyone else who has something to gain from an investment. The main goal is to serve the needs of all the stakeholders.

A lot of free to play games now prey on the fact that they make you wait for everything. Like when you use up your lives, it’s going to reset in 15 minutes. But for some money, you can continue right now, or if you invite all your friends, and spam all your friends, you can continue right now.

This is a net negative for the user, right, no one wants to sell out their friends, people don’t, especially young kids who don’t want to spend money. A new pattern is emerging where rather than doing either of those users will happily watch an ad to gain something, like to not wait, which is a better pattern.

UX designers and developers have a lot of power in their hands to create delight and benefit for users. On the other side of the coin, some companies only view users as a sale. A master of user experience knows how to create compelling experiences while being practical for the business.

Shifting Away From Dark Mobile UX Patterns was originally posted on Impekable’s website. You can listen to the full podcast on UX Blog where Pek discusses more UX related topics.

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