0:00-1:26 This Ad Watchers episode provides insight into “Dark Patterns.” Coined by Harry Brignull in 2010, the term “dark patterns” is used to describe design practices that trick or manipulate users into making choices they would not otherwise have made, and that may cause harm. Eric Unis, Senior Attorney at the National Advertising Division (NAD), and his colleague Annie Ugurlayan, NAD’s Assistant Director, are joined by guest Deputy Director Katherine Armstrong. Katherine is a deputy director of the National Advertising Division (NAD) at BBB National Programs. She manages NAD attorneys and the overall case management and handling of monitoring and competitor-challenged truth-in-advertising cases, supporting long-term operations planning for the 50-year-old program.
Think about the times you felt tricked or frustrated by a membership or subscription that had a seamless signup process but was later difficult to cancel. Something that should be simple and transparent can be complicated, intentionally or unintentionally, in ways that impair consumer choice. These are examples of dark patterns. Unfortunately, dark patterns are becoming increasingly common as companies look for ways to boost profits. While some may seem harmless, others can have serious consequences for users.
Where is the line between ethical, persuasive design and dark patterns? In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Eric and Annie are joined by guest Deputy Director of the National Advertising Division, Katherine Armstrong to answer that question. Together, these three explore dark patterns and the FTC’s recent report on the topic, provide some real examples from NAD cases, and deliver commentary on the FTC’s response to the proliferation of these dark patterns. Listen now to understand the most common dark pattern tactics and how you can avoid them while still producing compelling, persuasive advertising.
For more information about this episode, read the show notes here.