An increasing number of EU-level regulations prohibit dark patterns. Information overload can now be considered as a form of manipulative design. But how to fight these walls of text, “privacy maze” and similar deadends?
What are dark patterns?
In a nutshell, dark patterns are manipulative design: misleading interfaces that manipulate users into choices they do not intend to make, or materially impairs their ability to make free and informed decisions.
Users are confronted with an avalanche of requests, information, options or possibilities to prompt them to share more data or unintentionally allow personal data processing against the users’ expectations.
Making users forget or do not think about all or some of the data protection aspects
Affecting users’ choices by appealing to their emotions or using visual nudges.
Obstructing or blocking users in their process of becoming informed or managing their data by making the action hard or impossible to achieve.
Inconsistent and unclear design, making it hard for the user to navigate the different data protection control tools and to understand the purpose of the processing.
Left in the dark
Design to hide information or data protection control tools or to leave users unsure of how their data is processed and how they can exercise their rights.
Why should you care?
The Digital Services Act, once in force, will prohibit dark patterns. Providers of online platforms will be required not to design, organize or operate their interfaces in a way that deceives, manipulates or otherwise materially distorts or impairs the ability of users of their services to make free and informed decisions.
The draft Guidelines of the European Data Protection Board on dark patterns in social media identify dark patterns as contrary to a number of provisions and principles of GDPR. Established EU consumer protection already bans a large number of dark patterns that mislead consumers.
In addition, we’re convinced that user sovereignty is the key to a successful web3.
What can you do to fight dark patterns?
We provide user sovereignty audits: our experts in UX design, neurosciences and plain language will audit your interfaces to identify the degree in which it might contain dark patterns or any design and information structure which prevents users from making enlightened, thus free choices.
We create white patterns: privacy policies, online terms and other interfaces that empower users to not only understand their rights, but also to exercise them – and having a great legal UX as they do!
We have a specific expertise in creating data protection white patterns for kids and teens, building on our work with the CNIL: we’re able to create kids-friendly privacy policies and to create content to explain targeted advertising to 8-year olds.
We deliver trainings to lawyers and designers, to share with them our methodology, and empower them to create white patterns.
Our user testing lab enables us to measure very precisely legibility, usability, memorization and satisfaction of existing interfaces and the new ones we create. The results of our user testing, based on widely recognized international standards, are often used by our clients to evidence their good faith, in front of regulators, or during litigation.
We regularly offer conferences open to all citizens to help them becoming more aware of their cognitive biases, inform them about dark patterns and equip them to avoid falling into these traps.
Our experts joining forces to create white patterns
We developed a unique expertise combining 10 years of Magic Circle experience, user-centricity, neurosciences, plain language and UX design to identify dark patterns, turn them into white patterns, and train lawyers and designers to avoid manipulative design.
Driven by a common passion for continuous improvement and innovation, we have been working with Dominique, founder of neuro@work on several Digital Transformation projects.
Drawing on her background in neuroscience, Dominique designs change programmes that put the human mind front and centre, to ensure transformation objectives fully connect and embed within the workforce. She focuses on understanding of how the human brain reacts to new systems and forms new working habits. This knowledge is applied in the strategic planning and roll-out of change programmes, to minimise resistance and realise sustainable behavioral change in the workforce. Her extensive experience of working in global organisations, allows her to have an insight into common operational challenges and proficiency in designing solutions to overcome them.
Marie combines 10 years of Magic Circle Experience, with GC experience at EMEA level and a master’s degree in innovation by design at ENSCI. In one of her prior lives, she was the global GDPR project manager at Chanel. She created Amurabi namely because she could no longer stand all these walls of text prompting users to blind sign. Her professional thesis: Shaping the law to restore its function is available here.
After working for more than 10 years as a UX designer on various projects (connected application for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, secondary driving screen for Renault Trucks, connected watch application for HelloBank, etc.), Isabelle joined the Amurabi team as a Senior UX Designer.
Isabelle attaches great importance to human interaction, she likes to create simple and elegant paths in close collaboration with the user.
Thanks to her generalist training at the Gobelins school, Isabelle’s expertise covers design workshops, functional prototypes, as well as the different phases of user search.