ASCI Study Reveals the Dark Side of UI/UX in Digital Platforms: Key Takeaways for You

ASCI Study Reveals the Dark Side of UI/UX in Digital Platforms: Key Takeaways for You

Visually stunning web interfaces catch the consumers’ eyes! That is why today’s organizations are following the latest UI UX trends to attract the attention of more and more online consumers. Now the main question is – How much is real among what the consumers see?

ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) has published an extensive discussion paper on the topic “Digital Platform Design: A Review of User Interface and User Experience.” It highlights how various digital platforms’ UI and UX are manipulating online consumers. It also discusses how companies use dark patterns to change consumption.

In this blog, we will review the published report by ASCI and study the current UI UX market trends used to manipulate consumers.

The power of UI/UX trends is not in their beauty, but in their ability to influence and persuade.

What are Dark Patterns in UI UX Trends?

Dark patterns are deceptive UI and UX design techniques that manipulate users into taking actions they didn’t intend to take. These patterns can be subtle, such as pre-selecting an option that benefits the platform, or more explicit, such as hiding important information or creating a sense of urgency.

Analyzing Dark Pattern Categories

a) Misdirection: It diverts the user’s attention from the desired action. Example: Hiding the unsubscribe button.
b) Confirm shaming: It makes the users feel guilty or ashamed of themselves for not taking a particular action. Example: Website prompts “No thanks, I don’t need any discounts as I prefer to pay full.”
Forced action: It doesn’t follow UX best practices. Instead, it confuses the users to opt out of a particular service. Example: Automatically signing up for a newsletter.
Sneak into the basket: It involves adding items to the users’ shopping carts without their consent. Example: Adding a donation of 1$ for a charity.
Social proof: It focuses on creating a sense of urgency or social pressure on the user to take a particular action. Example: Showing “only 1 item available in stock” prompt to the buyer.

Key Findings From The ASCI Study

The ASCI study analyzed the UI UX trends of 207+ digital platforms across India. The findings highlight that 71% of these platforms use Dark Patterns to manipulate consumer behavior. Listing here the key results from the ASCI study:

a) Many platforms force pre-selected options on the users’ behalf to benefit themselves. For example, adding the user into a subscription by default.
Many platforms send misleading notifications from time to time to trick users into taking a particular action. For example: displaying a countdown timer with a specific discount or offer to the consumers.
Many platforms impose additional hidden charges until the buyers reach the payment gateway page. Many UX design examples online, like taking $1 or more for charity, prove this fact.
Some platforms make it difficult for the end-users to opt out of a particular service plan. For example, users need help unsubscribing themselves.
Many platforms use social proof to create a sense of urgency or social pressure on the users. For example, showing prompt as “hurry before the item stocks out” to the buyers. 

The ASCI study also found that e-commerce platforms are the most likely to use dark patterns, with 83% of these platforms employing these techniques. Food delivery and travel platforms were also found to use dark patterns extensively.

[Discover more: Atomic UX Research | Product Design vs UX Design | Artificial Intelligence & UI/UX | App UX to Increase Sales]

Analyzing UI UX Trends Impact on User Behavior

Dark patterns can have a significant impact on user behavior. Users manipulated into taking actions they didn’t intend to take may feel frustrated or tricked, leading to a negative user experience. Moreover, users may end up sharing their personal information or extra money without realizing it.

For example, pre-selecting an option by default may lead to users unknowingly signing up for a subscription or service they don’t want. Similarly, adding items to a user’s shopping cart without their consent may result in them paying for products or services they didn’t intend to purchase.

The ASCI study highlights the need for businesses to prioritize user trust and transparency over short-term gains. By using deceptive UX design software, businesses may attract more customers in the short term but risk losing them in the long run due to a negative user experience.

UI UX Best Practices Companies Should Follow

The ASCI study points out some effective Best Practices that companies should follow: 

a) Prioritize transparency about the terms and conditions associated with the service offerings.
Respect users’ preferences by allowing them to make individual decisions at their own pace. Avoid pre-selecting options from the UI/UX interfaces.
c) Simplify the user experience so that users can easily find what they need. Avoid adding unnecessary steps that can irritate the user.
Test the UX design examples by conducting thorough user testing. It ensures that the web interfaces are not deceptive to the viewers.
Stay up-to-date with UI design best practices and market trends to ensure that UI designs are user-friendly and transparent.
Show the total purchase cost with pricing break-up at all times. Most customers will accept the additional fees when disclosed upfront.
Delay pop-ups until customers have gone through the entire web content. Even better, show some pop-ups at the bottom right or left corner for the customers to click.
Distinguish promotional ads so that customers can recognize them at first glance. Thus they can make their selections. 

The above UI UX best practices fit well for businesses of all sizes. Hence, UI UX designers should follow these positing design traits while businesses should maintain transparency and professionalism with their online consumers.

Bottom Line

The ASCI research sheds light on the deep secrets of UI UX trends and their potential to manipulate user behavior. Employing deceitful design techniques may result in businesses losing users’ confidence and harming their brand image over time. Therefore, companies need to prioritize transparency and give users control when creating digital platforms. By adopting ethical standards and avoiding manipulative strategies, businesses can enhance the user experience and cultivate a devoted customer base.

About Us: Algoworks is a B2B IT firm providing end-to-end product development services. Operating chiefly from its California office, Algoworks is reputed for its partnership with Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Dell, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Algoworks is an expert in UI/UX Designs with experience catering to enterprises belonging to all domains. This includes: Brand Strategy, Product Design, UX Research, UI & Animation and Design Testing. For more information, contact us here.

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Nauman Ahmad

Nauman Ahmad

Head of Design & Marketing
Nauman Ahmad, Head of Design & Marketing has directed many targeted products to market success for a diverse client portfolio. In his 10+ years with Algoworks, Nauman has been well-known for experimenting with his unparalleled, bold & esoteric ideas; thinking break-throughs and executing unconventional methods. He has pioneered appreciable initiatives at the organization. He is passionate about exploring and experimenting with designs contributing to the development of brand definition. He holds in-depth experience in leading large cross-functional teams to craft authentic experiences for our clients, consistently meeting quality standards.
Nauman Ahmad

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