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Dark Patterns: Moving Towards Trusted Design

Dark patterns are designs built into website or app interfaces that can manipulate us into making choices we may not want to make. This Tech Policy Design Lab is exploring ways to curb these widespread practices and move us towards more trusted design.

Download the report (3.7MB)


Everything we do online is influenced by how the tools we use are built. Dark patterns are design practices built into user interfaces that obscure or impair consumer autonomy or choice and can alter decision-making or trick users into taking actions they might not otherwise take. This harmful design phenomenon is unfortunately widespread today. 

Tackling these patterns will be the next challenge for the Tech Policy Design Lab. In the coming months, we’ll gather evidence of the harms of dark patterns, including who these practices impact the most, and how they affect the most marginalised communities in particular. We’ll bring together policymakers, tech companies and researchers who can help solve this problem and work with them to co-create solutions that can help create interface design that is more ethical, trusted, and that puts people and their needs first. And we’ll follow up to ensure those alternatives are put into action to build a safe and empowering web for everyone.