Loke Aka Zyro
4 min readJul 29, 2022


Stop calling these Dark Design Patterns or Dark UX — these are simply a**hole designs

Have you noticed that lately some people are trying to coin the terms “Dark UX” or “Dark Design Patterns”? Not only that, but also trying to put in the UX account some nasty psychological or cheap tricks.

We are User Experience Designers and our core objective is to create delightful and seamless experiences for the user. Let’s be clear here, if you do any of the following below I suggest a new term: “A**hole Design”.

1. Swipe up and what happens?!

Ad in Snapchat for Android 😬

2. This app is for free…. wait, what?!

This app was downloaded on April 2nd.

“Free for 3 days starting now. $49.99/week starting Apr 5, 2018”

3. Rewards, REWARDS!!

Have you heard about “Variable Rewards”? One example is the little red alert to tell the user there is something new to have a look. That’s a technique Facebook, Instagram and Candy Crush mastered. The term became famous after the book “Hooked”, from Nir Eyal, mentioned it as the most important “trick” to hook the users. Nir Eyal’s words below:

What distinguishes the Hook Model from a plain vanilla feedback loop is the Hook’s ability to create a craving.

This print screen was taken a week after downloading the app “Restaurant 2”.


And this other app below pretends to have a notification on the image of the icon itself.

4. Accept the risk?

New malwares created in the last minute by…


5. Dirty screen?

This add in a mobile app makes you think there is a dust particle on your screen, making you tap on it.

6. Not only dust…

This ad in Snapchat makes you think there is a strand of hair on your screen, making you tap on it.

(not my hair, for sure!)

7. Continue to Uninstall!?

While uninstalling IObit you get a confusing message with a prominent CTA to continue (and not uninstall it):

At this moment I can see the stakeholder clapping and the UX designer’s reaction like:

8. I want to unsubscribe.

Ok… good luck.


What about, “Enter your e-mail below and we will remove you from the list…” Okay…😖


9. Bing!

12 seconds of slow pain…


10. Not even table salt is free from Asshole Design


10. The fake wrapper

By the way if you shop for wraps in Waitrose or Pret, you’ve seen some packaging like the one below 😲


And here is the king of deception. The way the ham was inside this sandwich.

I had to laugh 😂😂😂

11. Tetris wants to give you high quality advertising…

Do you want my National Insurance Number as well?

These examples are only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve seen them and even more in many different ways. They are everywhere nowadays. Also, have you ever tried to opt-out a marketing e-mail? It feels like this:

And this is not a new thing, below is an example of 1861. It’s called Wizard Oil and was created by John Austen Hamlin.

With ingredients like ammonia and chloroform, Wizard Oil did more harm than good.

This “wizard” made big profits until the government prohibited the oil in 1906 (almost 50 years operating with a fake product).

All of this is not bad user experience design, not psychology, not “dark patterns”. This is being dishonest, deceitful, corrupt, and unethical.

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Loke Aka Zyro

hi i am loke and i write stories that i would love for u to read