Dark patterns subtly encourage you to do something you might not want to do, to do something you’re not even aware that you’re doing.
Dark Patterns are User Interfaces that are designed to trick people.
I wanted to post a link to this site: darkpatterns.org. It’s well worth taking a look at, especially at some of the examples that the site lists.
My favourites include:
Privacy Zuckering (!) which is about the use of confusing jargon and interfaces to trick users into sharing more than they might want.
Bait and Switch where users set out to do one thing, but something different happens instead.
This seems to me an increasingly important part of usability and UX that’s not often recognised or discussed.
Another good resource is (as ever!) from Government Digital Services (GDS) who have a design patterns hack pad which is a great little resource in itself for design patterns and ideas for making better web experiences.