Clusters of Dark Patterns Across Popular Websites in New Zealand

Cherie Lacey, Alex Beattie, Tristam Sparks


“Dark patterns” are interface design techniques that aim to trick or mislead Internet users. Most dark-patterns research has been undertaken in the United States and Europe and by user experience or human computer interaction researchers. In this study, we adopt a media and communication studies and science and technology studies approach to investigate where dark patterns “cluster” in online environments. A walkthrough of the top 100 New Zealand websites leads us to the following findings: (1) dark patterns cluster around financial transactions; (2) the most common types of dark patterns constitute a form of interface interference; and (3) dark patterns are often deployed as mechanisms to drive revenue, facilitate customer surveillance, and reduce business operations costs, and appear to be largely imported from overseas markets.


dark patterns, e-commerce, walkthrough, interface design, user experience

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