Bookmark: "Why it's time to update our language about bad design patterns"

Sebastian Greger


As much as I am fascinated by the subject, and passionate about promoting that it is an abuse of designers’ power of influencing people’s behaviour, I deeply dislike the term “dark patterns”. Enough so, to dedicate an entire page in my resources on the topic.

What I really like about this long-form analysis by Amy Hupe is that it highlights how it is not up to somebody not affected by hurtful language to judge whether it is appropriate or not:

The fact that Black folks have told us that our language around bad patterns is harmful is enough of a reason to change it.


If someone from a marginalised group tells you that a term you’re using is racist, misogynistic, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, or causes any other type of harm to them: trust them.

And with “dark patterns” it’s really not that difficult. Terms like “deceptive patterns” or “intentionally misleading patterns” are elegant alternatives, and a lot more descriptive as well.

This resource, referenced in the article, is a really thorough resource on the topic of racist language:

Abolish racist language

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

My occasionally sent email newsletter has all of the above, and there is of course also an RSS feed or my Mastodon/Fediverse profile.