Dark UX patterns from IHG #1 (Hotel Indigo: Madrid — Gran Via)
Ian Fenn
22

While I agree entirely with the premise of this article (don’t hide important information), I feel I should point something out about the details as well as the fact that this issue is symptomatic of a much deeper problem that the author does not refer to.

TL;DR this isn’t a “dark pattern” in the sense that somebody decided to hide the information. The fact that it was hidden is a side effect of the data structure the seller has to deal with. Moreover, those who profess to design “responsively” are blind to the much bigger problem of content in design and UX overall.

So here is the long version of all that:

Anyone who has worked on the UX of e-commerce will know that one of the hardest problems to solve is that of consistent experience from variable product data. In this case, the data is about hotels, which is supplied to the seller in semi-structured form, and sometimes from heterogeneous sources which also varies in structure between hotels. You can rely on some common elements such as price and amenities lists, but when it comes to details like the attributes of amenities (in this case, pool availablity), these are usually contained in an unstructured “other info” blob of text. There is no way of identifying whether something in this blob deserves special attention, let alone design the interface to promote it if it does.

This is clearly an issue of “response" in the sense that a particularly important piece of data needed to be promoted within the structure of the page that also contained standard common elements. Doing so would have produced UX far more valuable than anythig our current shallow obsession with “responsive design” could deliver. Yet we have no technology to do anything about it. Content remains forgotten, despite being paid lip service as “king”.

This is a fail. But not the fail it’s portrayed as in this article.

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