Disrespectful Dark Patterns I Really Hate

I despise dark patterns. But there are types of dark patterns that aren’t directly malicious but is mostly presented as a minor annoyance to users but are clearly designed / implemented in software to benefit the companies behind them.

It’s basically disrespectful design. Heck, it’s asshole design. And I wish they were just as illegal as the bait-and-switch behavior that dark patterns love to do.

Case #1: In-app web browsers, and apps that disrespect my default browser.#

How the problem presents itself: Oh, you clicked a link! Let me open the link in a browser modal within the app for you.

What I actually wanted: I have a default browser. When I click links, they should open my default browser. Especially if it’s the default browser that has my preferred settings.

The usual culprits: Facebook, Twitter. Google apps too, but they have the toggle to use your default browser. Microsoft is a notable violator for opening apps on Edge when you have a different default browser.

Why they do these: App developers don’t want users to lose focus on their app. Sometimes there’s a legitimate reason to do this (ex: authorizing a login) but the worst culprits want themselves to be the web browsers so you’ll be back to their apps, or worse, so they can track your browsing habits with referral trackers (looking at you, Twitter)

How I want these fixed: These should be optional. Apps that do these must have options to disable this behavior, or better, It should be a system-wide toggle.

Case #2: Autoplaying videos#

How the problem presents itself: Welcome to the si—HERE’S A VIDEO AND I’M PLAYING IT FOR YOU, ENJOY

What I actually wanted: I opened the site and want to see a particular creator I’m subscribed to, or I just wanted to read an article linked to me. I didn’t ask you to open a random featured video that I clearly didn’t want to watch.

The usual culprits: Twitch.tv, Netflix, Facebook. At least the latter two give you options to disable it. Twitch? Fuck Twitch. This is also common for plenty of news sites and blogspam sites too.

Why they do these: Gotta boost the view counts! Somehow, some idiots decided that distracting users and wasting their time is a good thing, probably because they want you to keep watching and stay at the site. Honestly, that’s OK if you could opt-out of it, but for those that don’t, fuck you so much.

Case #3 “Clippit” Suggestions#

Anyone remember Clippit? The annoying Office Assistant that kept giving suggestions no one asked for? Well, I think the Clippit mentality is clearly seeping through UX design and while it’s use is justified for new users and for people to try out new unexplored features — when done wrong, it’s as bad as annoying pop-up windows and spam email and the idiotic “like-and-subscribe” approach that YouTube creators love to do because YouTube kept prodding them to ask folks to subscribe.

How the problem presents itself: You’re typing a post, then after hitting submit, the site changes how your post is presented without your consent because you mentioned a keyword. (ex: “asking for recommendations” in Facebook because you wrote “does anyone know” or “recommendations”).

This issue presents itself in many ways. It could be the site suggesting you to follow a stream because you’ve watched for a while (ehem, Twitch). It could be some passive-aggressive notice that pops out for you when you’re doing something the website doesn’t want you to do, etc.

And maybe more…#

That’s it for now on this post. I’m sure I’ve been annoyed by other disrespectful design cues out there, and I haven’t even mentioned Apple.

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