Sneaking

We define sneaking as an attempt to hide, disguise, or delay the divulging of information that has relevance to the user. Sneaking often occurs in order to make the user perform an action they may object to if they had knowledge of it. Sneaking behaviors may include additional undisclosed costs or undesired effects from a particular action. Many of Brignull’s original dark patterns are of this type, and were the most common when dark patterns are referenced by practitioners.

Subtypes of Sneaking

  • Brignull’s "Forced Continuity"

    Continues to charge the user after the service they have purchased expires. This pattern takes advantage of users’ failure to check up on service expiration dates, either for a free trial or for a limited-time use of a paid service, by assuming upon service expiration that the user either wants to continue the paid service or upgrade to the paid version of the free trial, and charges the user for either respective option and continues the service.

  • Brignull’s "Hidden Costs

    Provides users with a late disclosure of certain costs. In this pattern, a certain price is advertised for a good or service, only to later be changed due to the addition of taxes and fees, limited time conditions, or unusually high shipping costs.

  • Brignull’s "Sneak into Basket"

    Adds items not chosen by the user to the user’s online shopping cart, often claiming them to be a suggestion based on other purchased items. This may cause the user to unintentionally buy these items if they do not notice them prior to checkout.

  • Brignull’s "Bait and Switch"

    Makes it apparent that a certain action will cause a certain result, only to have it cause a different, likely undesired result.

Latest examples found

Interface Interference Sneaking

Wired.co.uk: Trick Check Boxes

January 20, 2018

Interface Interference Sneaking

Windows 10: Update

January 20, 2018

Sneaking

Virgin: Preselection for Subscription

January 20, 2018

Interface Interference Sneaking

United Airlines: Hidden Fees

January 20, 2018

Forced Action Sneaking

Uber: Information Not Deleted From Cloud

January 20, 2018