It is more important than ever that our products are reliable and honest in the face of dark patterns in UX.
Users are nudged towards a direction that benefits the company rather than themselves when designers create a dark UX. As opposed to misleading users with dark patterns, we can build credibility by offering ethical experiences that put the interests of users first, even at the cost of short-term profit.
This approach may slow down profits in the short term, but will actually boost them over time. The reputation you have as a reliable company can actually increase user confidence and their willingness to invest in your product or service.
Why is ethical design so important?
It is important to have ethics in design so that it remains honest and trustworthy. That applies to aesthetics as well as business. One must always act in an ethical manner. By doing so, one will establish himself as a professional and credible company.
Product design guidelines
Notifying the customer - Companies are too often relying on users to register for a free trial and then forget about it, leading them to pay for a subscription afterwards. Our users should be informed and given the option to cancel their subscriptions after a free trial if they no longer find the service useful.
Highlighting the cons - Users should be informed of the negative consequences of a decision they're about to make, rather than having to search for them themselves.
Defaulting the safest option - Do not pre-select items on forms or make decisions on the user's behalf.
Make the user a priority - In the short term, a feature that will benefit your users over your bottom line might shortchange you, but in the long run, your users will love you for it.
Transparency of prices - In all too many e-commerce experiences, there is one price advertised, but when you reach the checkout page after taxes and shipping, the price is significantly higher.
Stop the spam - Send only the most relevant notifications when they are necessary. Additionally, you must make it easy for users to adjust their notification preferences. For example, If you unsubscribe, it would be more ethical first to remove you and then offer you the option to return (since it is assumed that you do wish to be removed)
Transparency in privacy - Users have to be informed and consented to the collection of valuable information. It's dishonest to hide pertinent information in a document that no one will read.
Keep it honest - If you always have sales on your site, then you shouldn't pretend that this New Year's sale ends in two hours.
Make sure you're honest about your promotions and don't run the same sale all the time. Fake promotions will damage your reputation in the long run.
You need a User Testing
User testing reveals which aspects of the design annoy people, where they get perplexed, and what discourages them from converting. This is the perfect complement to analytics and A/B testing because it provides insights into why users behave the way they do.
Today's society is largely constructed by designers. A responsible company must find the right balance between ethics and business goals. The goal is to find a solution that fits both user needs and business objectives.
Each enterprise or brand has a responsibility to make this world a better place. This can be accomplished by easing the life of people and providing solutions for their problems, without making them purchase something they don't really need.
As long as a company follows truthful practices, it will be appreciated by its customers, which will create a win-win situation in the long run.