“I tried to stop it from happening, but they just ignored me.”

That’s what one person told me recently — and many others responded similarly — when I blogged about my upcoming keynote at CX SF and invited people to share their stories with me in confidence about how they respond when asked to help advance dark patterns (design patterns that manipulate customers against their own interests).

But there’s hope. I’ve also heard from people who’ve succeeded at steering their colleagues away from dark patterns and in a direction that furthers the interests of the business and also the interests of its customers to earn their loyalty and advocacy.

Today, I can share that the best tactics either lay the groundwork to avoid dark patterns early or seek to steer potentially problematic design discussions in a more positive direction. Many people use both approaches. It’s also important to understand why an individual is advocating for a dark pattern and choose the response accordingly. I’m looking forward to sharing more about what I’m learning at CX SF a few weeks from now.

Want to participate in the research? Reach out and email me — confidentially, if you prefer — about how you respond in these situations. I’ve also gotten fascinating examples of dark patterns from many of you. Keep those coming!

If you’re interested in learning more, some of the great resources I’ve come across include Harry Brignull’s darkpatterns.org and “Dark Patterns At Scale,” a study of 11,000 shopping websites by researchers at Princeton, as well as the books Mastering Collaboration by Gretchen Anderson, Future Ethics by Cennydd Bowles, and Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro. ProPublica’s Justin Elliott has even written a whole series of articles and conducted interviews about the dark patterns Intuit uses in its tax prep software.

Want to join me at the event and discuss these questions in person? Register for CX SF 2019.

I hope to see you there!