The dark side of UX Design

Practitioner-identified examples of stakeholder values superseding user values.

The five strategies of Dark Patterns

Raising awareness of UX dark patterns, with the help of practitioners and users.

Our research at the UXP2 Lab builds upon UX practitioner Harry Brignull’s work on dark patterns. Brignull defines “dark patterns” as instances where designers use their knowledge of human behavior (e.g., psychology) and the desires of end users to implement deceptive functionality that is not in the user’s best interest. Working with both practitioners and end-users, we are investigating how an increased awareness of dark patterns in UX might lead to a more ethically- and socially-responsible UX practice. Browse through our corpus of examples of practitioner-identified dark patterns, or find out how you can get involved in our research.



Redirection of expected functionality that persists beyond one or more interactions.


Making a process more difficult than it needs to be, with the intent of dissuading certain action(s).

Subtypes of Obstruction

Brignull’s "Roach Motel", Brignull’s "Price Comparison Prevention", Intermediate Currency


Attempting to hide, disguise, or delay the divulging of information that is relevant to the user.

Subtypes of Sneaking

Brignull’s "Forced Continuity", Brignull’s "Hidden Costs, Brignull’s "Sneak into Basket", Brignull’s "Bait and Switch"

Interface Interference

Manipulation of the user interface that privileges certain actions over others.

Subtypes of Interface Interference

Toying With Emotion, False Hierarchy, Brignull’s "Sneak into Basket", Brignull’s "Trick Questions"

Forced Action

Requiring the user to perform a certain action to access (or continue to access) certain functionality.

Subtypes of Forced Action

Social Pyramid, Brignull’s "Privacy Zuckering", Gamification

Latest examples found

Yelp: Disguised Ads

January 20, 2018

Yahoo: Confusing Unsubscribe

September 12, 2018