Dr Simon Wells

sesquipedalia verba

Uncovering Dark Patterns in Persuasive Technology Workshop @ Persuasive 2018

With my colleagues, Prof. Agnis Stibe (Paris ESLSCA Business School, France), Dr. Kate Pangbourne (University of Leeds, UK), Dr. Brian Cugelman (AlterSpark, Toronto, ON, Canada), and Anne-Kathrine Kjær Christensen (Specifii, Copenhagen, Denmark) we ran a workshop on Dark Patterns in Persuasive technology at the Persuasive 2018 Conference.

The dark patterns are interactive design patterns that influence technology users through deception or trickery, and which represent unethical applications persuasive technology. However, our ability to identify dark patterns is limited, creating a situation where it is difficult to manage abuses of persuasive psychology because it is difficult to even identify them. Although there are numerous practitioner taxonomies of dark patterns, there is no scientifically-based taxonomy available. In this workshop, participants will enjoy an introduction to dark patterns, and an overview of the psychological mechanisms that drive them. Through participatory exercises, participants will help to identify the theoretical underpinnings that drive dark patterns, and contribute to the development of a taxonomy of dark patterns, based on consensus within the scientific community. In the workshops, we will form working teams who will review the dark pattern taxonomy, looking for alternative theoretical explanations. Each working team will participate in a group sorting exercise, designed to inform the development of a theoretically-framed taxonomy of dark patterns. All outputs of the workshop will be captured and used to advance this study towards validation of the taxonomy. After the workshops, the authors of this paper will incorporate all the advancements into the next stage of the research, which will feed into a subsequent paper on a taxonomy of dark patterns, addressing the identified research questions.