February 27, 2013
Last weekend, I came across an interesting example of a dark pattern. If you’ve not heard the term before, a ‘dark pattern’ is a user interface that has been deliberately designed to trick people.
In my case, I launched the Flixster mobile app to check some film times and saw a large ‘new message’ banner, designed to look like a text message alert.
I instinctively reached up to tap it before my conscious thought process kicked in and stopped me. Why was I seeing a text message notification inside Flixster?
At this point, the alert disappeared to be replaced by a more conventional banner and I realised that I had been tricked.
This is a profoundly stupid piece of design, as it generates a very negative emotional response. People don’t like to be tricked – it makes them angry.
A bit of research revealed that this was – not surprisingly – a Google AdSense banner. It clearly violates their program policies, so will hopefully be removed. But not quickly. The ad is still being served in the app today, 3 days later.
This example shows the importance of monitoring third-party content every day and acting quickly to fix any issues. It also shows the profound impact that a dark pattern can have on brand credibility. I now trust Flixster less than I did and think twice before launching their app.
February 23, 2013
A nice quote from Eyetracking Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice:
Designers should beware of using images that accompany text but don’t do anything to enhance it. We believe that these images should not be on a page. They are a waste of pixels, of the designer’s work, and of users’ time.
February 22, 2013
An excellent introduction to sketching by Jason Mesut and Sam Smith from RMA Consulting. One of my favourite SlideShare presentations.
February 18, 2013