Ethical Responsibilities Of Interface Designers

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Ethical Responsibilities of Interface Designers Imagine a woman at Ralph’s grocery store, pushing her cart through the aisles. She takes her time finding her items and heads to the checkout. As the cashier rings her up, she notices him pull out of her cart, and scan, a fancy wedge of cheese. She alerts him that she did not pick out that cheese and he informs her that it was merely “a suggestion”, and that she could have removed the cheese from her cart at any time. The woman argues that she did not want the cheese, and she did not notice that it was placed in her cart. The cashier then describes to her the lengthy process of how to return the cheese, including filling out a form, making several phone calls, and mailing the cheese back to Ralph’s distribution facilities. The woman decides to keep the cheese. Situations such as this happen all the time on the web. They are referred to as “dark patterns”. Dark patterns have a long history on the web. They are difficult to spot and almost impossible to regulate. Pressures set by metric-driven companies and competitive work environments, coupled with the clear effectiveness of these dark patterns, make it difficult for designers to resist using them. An ethical standard must be set for designers as a tool and incentive to forgo dark patterns. The term “dark patterns” was coined by Harry Brignull. He describes dark Campion 2 patterns as user interfaces, such as websites, that are “carefully crafted with a solid

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