The term dark patterns was coined by UX specialist Harry Brignall. To put it simply, dark patterns are user interfaces designed to 'trick', 'encourage' or 'compel' users into taking certain actions, potentially against users' wishes.  

Recently, there has been an increasing focus on dark patterns by the advertising and consumer regulations in the UK, EU and US.

In this document, Womble Bond Dickinson's transatlantic Digital team explain what dark patterns are, the different types of dark patterns with examples of each, and how they are all regulated in the UK, EU and US.

In addition, the team look at artificial intelligence (AI) and dark patterns - and why AI can be described as a double-edged sword in this context. 

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A regulatory deep dive into 'dark patterns'


This article is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice.