Science & Technology

10 Common UX Dark Patterns and How to Avoid Them

UX Dark Patterns

In UX design, dark patterns are tricks used to entice users into performing a forced action, which they don’t intend to perform. For example, gated content that does not allow you to access a website without signing up is an example of a dark pattern.

In the digital space, dark pattern designs are quite common as businesses think they are an easy way to increase traffic and therefore conversions. In contrast, it doesn’t work as expected because the target audience is more aware and doesn’t fall for such tricks.

This article shows how creating Dark Patterns isn’t an ethical practice and illustrates the importance of designers being responsible for their actions and creating transparency with users as opposed to manipulating them.

How to avoid dark patterns UX and what you should know about them.

Common types of dark patterns in UX

We will narrow down a few types of dark patterns in UX so that you will have a better grasp of how they work.

1. Bait and Switch

Putting forward fake data or information that talks about a user’s interests and when the user shows interest. As soon as the user shows interest and clicks, the information or data is completely altered. Businesses generally use bait and switch tactics to gain more clicks. 

2. Disguised ads

Perhaps you’ve seen a disguised ad on a website or app even if you didn’t realize what it was. The point is to get you to notice it! Users are more likely to click on disguised ads since they look like the rest of the content on a site.

3. Confirmshaming

A year or two ago, this pattern was very popular. By making the choice sound undesirable, the idea was to get the user to opt into something, such as sharing their email or signing up for a newsletter. E-commerce websites, for example, may provide a discount for new users if they provide their email addresses. The user must click on an option that says, “No thank you, I do not like saving money.” if they do not wish to share their email address.

4. Hidden Costs

When a specific price is shown for a product or service, and the price increases remarkably (taxes and delivery fees) once the user completes the checkout process.

5. Roach Motel

As a result of this dark pattern, the signing up process into a given platform is relatively straightforward and faster. It is worth looking into. Exiting can be problematic. There is almost no chance – it is a roach motel. A good example of a roach motel that makes it easy to sign up but makes it difficult to unsubscribe once you want to leave.

6. Privacy zuckering

During its early days, Facebook was known for inadvertently revealing more personal information about users than they intended. Because of this, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, is named after the dark pattern. Due to user backlash and privacy advocates’ efforts, we observe that privacy zuckering is now mostly done through data brokers, which makes it less obvious. 

7. Misdirection

In the same way as other types of misdirection, this dark pattern uses design to focus your attention on one thing in the hopes that you will overlook something else. In the case of Amazon Prime, if you wish to cancel your membership, you’re taken to a page that features all the benefits you receive as a Prime member.

8. Trick questions

You’ve probably filled out many forms on websites and apps, so you’re comfortable skimming them and making assumptions about the information requested. Users are tricked into answering a question in a way they did not intend by this dark pattern. 

9. Sneak into the basket

The dark pattern involves adding an extra item to a user’s e-commerce cart by including a radio button or checkbox that the user must uncheck to avoid the additional charge. Companies use this pattern when they include add-on services like privacy protection or trip protection in a user’s basket, which he or she must then notice and opt-out of.

10. Feeling the Fear of Missing Out

Dark patterns are common on e-commerce websites. The user is led to believe that they only have a limited time to act, receive an offer, or purchase a product based on timing elements. Most of the time, the goal is to increase order volume on e-commerce websites.

Why you should avoid dark patterns

The idea of using dark UX patterns might seem irresistible, but eventually, you will lose the trust and loyalty of your customers. If you want to climb the ladder of success based on how well you meet customer expectations, this is a no-no practice.

The following are some negative effects of using dark patterns in design:

1. Destroys the customer experience

Users are no longer naive or oblivious to how the internet manipulates them. These days, users are like adults who understand everything and walk away silently when something seems deceptive.

2. Abandonments on the rise

Businesses sometimes rely on UX design practices that they think will increase sales. Consumers today have higher expectations. Their content needs to be straightforward. Because of this, straightforward content is preferred.

3. Loyalty and trust will become less important

You will lose loyalty and trust if you keep following tricks and gimmicks that do not speak to the interests of the user. When you continue to engage in these uncalled-for practices, even your first customers will choose a competitor over you.

4. Avoiding dark UX patterns

Dark patterns can sometimes cause users a great deal of frustration. To avoid frustrations, confusion, and impatience, it is necessary to fool and mislead the users by evading these patterns. Dark patterns should be avoided at all costs by business owners. Dark patterns in UX can be avoided by implementing stringent design practices, enhancing user preferences, providing tremendous favor to the user’s interests, following ethical UX design processes, and conducting extensive research on user expectations.


It is possible to have a greater number of leads and conversations with dark patterns than you could ever imagine. It is important to note that your main development objective is to enhance the user experience without relying on dark patterns. Dark patterns are terrible detractors from the user experience and, therefore, must be avoided. To prevent ruining the user experience, development teams should use proper design procedures and avoid dark patterns.

Also Read: Top 10 UI/UX Trends to watch in 2021

Hello, I'm Sejal Jain, Editor at Currently, Pursuing B.Tech in Computer Science from Medi-Caps University, Indore. I am a Tech Enthusiast and a Voracious Learner, getting my hands dirty in as many fields I can, including, Content Writing| Designing | Marketing| Develpoment. Connect to me on LinkedIn and let me know your feedback for my work. I would love to hear from you.

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