May 26, 2021

Interactive: Dark Patterns At Work

Hat tip to Jenny Nicholson for sharing this game, Terms and Conditions.

Do you ever feel like you are being manipulated on websites? Unfortunately, dark patterns are all too prevalent on websites and apps. What's a Dark Pattern? 

As defined by expert Harry Brignull, dark patterns "are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn't mean to, like buying or signing up for something." The first step in not succumbing to these dark patterns is awareness which is why this interactive is so valuable as a learning tool. 

Play this game, Terms and Conditions, and you will never look at a website quite the same way again. 

Here's how you play:

So, 29 questions, 29 different strategies to get you to give away information that you may want to protect. Your mission: Just say NO to terms and conditions, notifications and cookies.

See how your students do and then discuss these questions:

  • How many times were you tricked by the game? 
  • Were any of these tricks (dark patterns) familiar to you already?
  • Which did you find most difficult to complete successfully?
  • What impact will this game have on you in your future website visits? 


Want to learn more about dark patterns? We have an On-Demand: Dark Patterns are Trying to Trick You. 


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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