The Dark UX Award

We’re invited you to nominate the most nefarious, overt use of dark UX patterns that you’ve come across over the past year.

This category isn’t about shoddy UX or not-terribly-exciting visual designs. This is about dark UX patterns being used to deliberately trick or mislead users into actions they might not have taken otherwise. It’s great UX, but for a terrible cause.

During the UXUK Awards ceremony, we are our audience the select who should ‘win’ the Dark UX Award for the year.

2019 Dark UX Award

The winner of the 2018 Dark UX Award – as voted for by the audience – was… Amazon!

WINNER: Amazon – Prime candidate for dark UX
During the check out process, Amazon presents the customer with an Amazon Prime up-sell screen. To the casual observer it might appear that they have two options: ‘Order Now with Prime’ or continue without it (‘Continue with Free One day delivery’). However, these are in fact the same option. Both sign you up to Amazon Prime.

The actual continue without Prime subscription is discreetly placed to the left of the screen. The Advertising Standards Authority ruled this summer that this design is misleading.

Runner up: Nustay – I don’t want spam, send me spam
At first glance, the marketing sign-up check box for hotel booking site Nustay appears to be an opt out option, reading ‘I don’t want spam emails…’. Only the persistent reader will notice that this is in fact an opt in checkbox. ‘I don’t want spam emails, only highly relevant emails with information, discounts and deals.’

Runner up: Swiss Air – cookie monster
The Swiss Air website allows users to opt in or remain opted out of various cookie categories. However, the big red button overrides any choices the user may have made, signing them up to all cookies. To remain opted out or to opt in to only the cookie settings the user selected they must locate the considerately more discrete ‘Confirm selection’ link.

2018 Dark UX Award

The winner of the 2018 Dark UX Award – as voted for by the audience – was… Amazon! Selected for using colour theory and micro-copy in their call to action buttons to confuse users.

Facebook Messenger (for attempting to access all of a user’s contacts) and Google (for location tracking) were our runners-up.



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