Dark Patterns in Contemporary Internet Design

HTML Forms from Harwood YoHa on Vimeo.

A recent study published by two Facebookers shows that not only is the company collecting data on ‘self-censorship’ behaviour of their users, the browser code that makes this monitoring possible is also capable of ‘reading’ what you type – before you even press the enter button. This talk will discuss several technological approaches to the current state of webmonitoring of users, and how these approaches can lead to designing so-called ‘dark patterns’ – user interfaces that are basically designed to trick you into displaying a certain behaviour. Drawing upon earlier projects related to this research, I will show several examples on how the use of simple form fields and other input methods in websites can actually represent a wide variety of usage, both to the server collecting the data as to the unsuspecting user.

Walter Langelaar is a Lecturer in Media Design at Victoria University of Wellington. His work in media arts and design ranges from artistic videogame modifications to critical reflections on Internet technology and culture, and his installations and collaborative online projects have been shown in numerous venues, galleries and festivals like Transmediale and CTM, iMAL, DEAF, Ars Electronica, STRP, Gogbot and Medialab Prado. Before moving to Wellington last year, Langelaar ran the moddr_ medialab at Rotterdam-based arts venue WORM; Institute for Avant-Gardistic Recreation.


Walter will share with Luke Munn, the Disenchanting the Digital presentation (Saturday 13 September).