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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Dark Patterns – User Interfaces Designed to Trick People

Posted by jpluimers on 2014/10/30


A Dark Pattern is a type of user interface that appears to have been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.

We developers have a big responsibility. Martin Fowler and Erik Dörnenburg (both ThoughtWorks) did a great presentation about that at the GOTO Aarhus 2014 Conference.

A quote:

“The developer who wrote that code is every bit as responsible as the person who told them to do it. You have a choice. You have a responsibility to ensure that your users are well treated and to reject dark patterns,” says Fowler. “We have a whole profession of people writing software and doing enormous things to change the way we live in the world.”

Please watch the video: Our Responsibility to Defeat Mass Surveillance – Erik Dörnenburg and Martin Fowler – YouTube.



3 Responses to “Dark Patterns – User Interfaces Designed to Trick People”

  1. Kevin G. McCoy said

    @LDS – I wouldn’t be too hard on TurboPower. They took the products about as far as they could go and saw the downturn in the Borland library business. I salute Kim Kokkonen for trying to keep his company together in Las Vegas – separating yahoos that couldn’t stay awake in math class from their money at the gambling tables. The change in corporate direction / breakup also gave us Julian Bucknall, at the helm of Developer Express. That was a sweet trade, since DevEx is unsurpassed as a broad based Delphi/BCB library. Last, Kim didn’t leave us hanging – he published almost all of their libraries as open-source soon after he shut the TurboPower doors. Greedy corporate thugs? I don’t think so.

  2. LDS said

    There are developer who write malware. There are developers who write exploits for criminals. There are developers who write dodgy software to make money (browser toolbars in the old days, now apps tracking you all the time…). There are developers who write software for gambling machines – a simple way to easily separate people from their money (and the old TurboPower owner found it much more lucrative than developing Delphi libraries…). There are developers writing sites selling you someone else exploitation. There were people writing “diallers”, and other similar software. There are people writing spam software.

    Of course a developer who accepts such jobs is someone without much moral issues. He or she sees the money, and nothing more – someone may just really need a job – and can’t say “no”, but most do it because there’s a lot of money to be made. In some of those sectors you may earn much more than in others where you can work henestly. People ready to sell their honesty for a bunch of money are not a few… do not expect they feel remorse for that.

  3. Rick said

    Something to think about.

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