Dark Patterns – Out Now on BBC Sounds

I have birthed a new child.

It’s a documentary called Dark Patterns – and it’s all about the manipulative tricks that some websites use to make us click and buy.

Have you ever tried to cancel an online subscription?

On some websites, it can be a painful maze of fruitless searches and false hopes. In fact, for one famous example, it was found to be nine clicks away from the home page, through a network of seemingly unrelated destinations that you’d have no reason to try – the ‘help’ section, the ‘contact us’ section, the ‘log in’ and ‘security’ sections, before eventually leading you to… calling the company.

This frustrating cancellation technique has a name. It’s called a ‘Roach Motel’ – a website built to trap you in – and it’s an example of what the industry call a… Dark Pattern.

For the last twelve months, I’ve speaking to psychologists, design experts and victims to find out how some websites use behavioural psychology to influence the decisions we make… and what impact it is having on all our lives.

It’s available from today on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts. Just click here.

And look… I’ve even made a little video.

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By Darryl Morris

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