Let’s Avoid the Dark UX

“Instead of deceiving users with dark patterns, we can build credibility through ethical experiences that put the user’s interests first, even at the expense of short term gain.”

This is a quote from an article I read this morning on Ethical UX Design. Have you ever felt like you’ve been bullied into a subscription? Have you tried to cancel a subscription only to be told that you have to jump through a million hoops to do so? This is what Danny Sapio defined as dark patterns in his article on Ethical UX Design Principals. (You can find a link to his article at the end of this blog.) I won’t repeat what he says in his article here, but I will share a thought or two on user experience and gaining life long customers, not temporary clients.

When you go to design your shopping experience for your users or a new app that will make their experience better with your company, make sure that you are working with designers who are going to think about the ethical implications of your design and interaction and will make sure to hold your user’s experience above any gimics to keep people locked in or make them feel trapped when doing business with your company.

Create Trust

When designing your website, shopping experience, that fancy new app, etc, you are creating a user experience that should be designed to build trust between your user and your company/brand. This might not always be the popular idea, but it will yield a long term gain when you are honest and truthful with your users. While it won’t always lead to immediate jumps in your ROI, it will create a better return on your investments in the long term. You will be fostering a relationship with your users where they know you will be honest and truthful with them. This is what will create lasting customers that not only come to you again and again for their needs, they will also recommend you to their friends and family. 

Own Up To Mistakes Quickly

When (and I say when here, because we are all human – mistakes will happen) something goes wrong and a mistake is made, own up to it. I can remember this being taught to me as a young child and I believe it holds its own merit in business practices. While you don’t need to plaster the mistake all over the place, own up to what happened and go ahead and address how you are going to correct the issue and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Ensure your users that you are looking out for their best interest and are going to be the one to let them know when something goes wrong (hearing it from the source) vs a random stranger on the bus. This goes back to building trust. Owning up to our mistakes as soon as we are able, helps to establish trust, even though it’s over something negative that might have happened.

Those are two of the biggest ways I think that I see businesses go wrong. They try to hide when something goes wrong for lots of reasons. But just remember we are all about building that lifelong connection with your user to that they become a lifelong customer. Make trust, not war.

10 Principals for Ethical UX Designers by Danny Sapio

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