We define obstruction as impeding a task flow, making an interaction more difficult than it inherently needs to be with the intent to dissuade a particular action. Obstruction often manifests as a major barrier to a particular task that the user may want to accomplish.

Subtypes of Obstruction

  • Brignull’s "Roach Motel"

    Describes a situation that is easy to get into, but difficult to get out of. This usually occurs when a user signs up for a service easily, but closing their account or canceling the service is difficult or impossible. A typical pattern of interactions requires the user to call aphone number in order to cancel their account, where they will be further pressured to maintain their account.

  • Brignull’s "Price Comparison Prevention"

    Seeks to dampen the effect of market competition by making direct price comparisons between products and services difficult. Tactics could include making important product information un-copyable,so as to prevent users from pasting such information into a search bar or another site.

  • Intermediate Currency

    Where users spend real money to purchase a virtual currency which is then spent on a good or service. The goal of this pattern is to disconnect users from the real dollar value spent in order to cause the user to interact differently with the virtual currency. This may result in users spending the currency more liberally than they would with fiat currency. This pattern usually manifests as in-app purchases for mobile games.

Latest examples found

Yahoo: Confusing Unsubscribe

September 12, 2018

Uber: Driver Manipulation

September 12, 2018