WIf you shop online, many shops will tell you that a product that is one of the top sellers with top ratings from previous buyers and that 96 other interested parties are also looking at is only available in a limited number, perhaps for two days. If you then add the product to the shopping cart, a drop-down box often flashes with formulations such as “I will not take advantage of transport insurance for my order”. Such user interfaces are intended to turn interested parties into buyers of goods and additional services. Also, many websites have variations on cookie consent prompts that use color, font size, and button placement to encourage visitors to consent to the processing of their personal data for the purpose of targeted advertising and content suggestions.
The outlined patterns of user interface design, which are related in terms of their effects, are addressed in specialist circles with the Anglicisms “dark pattern” or “nudging for bad” (unethical nudging). For about 20 years, they have been branded as unfairly one-sided, manipulative means of restricting Internet users’ decision-making autonomy and rationality, and as misleading, cunning psychological traps in the online digital space.