Dark User Experience: From Manipulation to Deception

by   Marc Miquel-Ribe, et al.

Hassenzahl (2008) defines User Experience (UX) as "the momentary feeling (good or bad) while interacting with a product or service" (p. 2). Even though this definition, or any other UX definition for that matter, do not mention that users' experiences need to be positive, the importance of experiencing positive emotions while interacting with a device is widely acknowledged. The equation "better UX = more business" is the motto that determined the industry to embrace this field, and at the same time, opened the path for the UX to go beyond usability guidelines and the human factors studies. It is clear that, by facilitating tasks to the users and by addressing their needs, they will be more satisfied, more engaged, and eventually, it will have positive consequences on the business. Nonetheless, some companies are willing to reach their economic goals at any cost, regardless of whether the customer's feels satisfied after obtaining what she needed. They wonder: how can we design the user interface in order to increase the possibilities of reaching our objectives in a much more effective way? Metrics related to purchase conversions, user retention and engagement become the main focus of design, and any UX research conducted is aimed at understanding the user's needs or preferences is used for this purpose. In these cases, design is mainly aimed at increasing the company's revenue, and companies sometimes cross the ethical line with this goal in mind. Such a phenomenon is called Dark UX.


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