Dark Patterns-studies



We’re 3 students at a University in Sweden, and thinking about writing our paper on Dark Patterns.
What is dark patterns? Design that focus on brining in quick profit, at the expense of customer satisfaction.
We’re thinking this would be a great place to find more information and sources. So far, we’ve tracked down Greg Conti and Harry Brignull and their work is great so we’re hoping to find more like them.

We will be focusing on the dark patterns that are found in application installations (extra software-installation pre-chosen) and dark patterns on websites, such as difficult opt-out schemes and tricky opt-in/opt-out combinations.

We will NOT be looking at dark patterns in gaming and proximity marketing.

Darkpatterns.org and #darkpattern on Twitter are sources we’re looking at for examples. We’ve also found a few youtube talks with the gentlemen we named earlier that were very good too.

Any direction and / or pointers are helpful.

TIA Mats, Adam and Jonathan



While I do not know of any particular resources on “dark” patterns, the following website is replete with resources on pattern design:


I tend to think if you can spot the “light” pattern, it will help you spot the dark pattern.

I hope that helps!




There is a book on this. This has been highly recommended, I myself have not read it yet though.
Book name is Evil by Design by Chris Nodder

Hope this helps.



Just now I visited Darkpatterns I feel it’s a very user friendly website, I admit on your university what should have me doing.


Hi, this topic isn’t very recent and your paper is perhaps already done, but I’d thought I’d mention another interesting source.
The books of Daniel Ariely (danariely.com)which are about behavioural economics provide examples of methods to coax people the right (=financially beneficial) way. You can find a few talks by him on TED.
Some of his examples are a newspaper subscription form and organ donorship.
I found his books ‘The upside of irrationality’ and ‘Predictably irrational’ a fascinating read.


Know this is an old discussion, but I’m also a researcher focused on dark patterns. I’m collaborating with a colleague, Prof. Stibe et al to make it easier for others to learn and study dark patterns.

We’re running a workshop on dark patterns (http://www.persuasive2018.org/workshops/), to formulate better categories, by applying behavioral science terms. I love Evil by Design, but it’s hard to do serious research with a taxonomy structured by the 7 Deadly Sins, so hopefully we’ll have a taxonomy based on psychology, behavioral science, neuroscience concepts. Hope to have resources to share with the community after.

Also, it is my hope that by isolating these patterns, we can help UX pros better identify ethical lines, and I feel there is a need for legislation, but that will be for law makers to decide if there is such a thing as an illegal UX pattern.