July 23, 2018
“Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.”—Dark Helmet, in Spaceballs
Lucifer. Darth Vader. Voldemort. Gru. Literature is filled with heroes, but also memorable villains. And why not? The uncomfortable truth is that, for many of us, villains and evil are much more interesting than heroes and good. It’s easy to identify the hero—the good—in a narrative. Heroes are predictable and idealistic. Villainy, on the other hand, leads us to ask questions: Why? What next? Can evil tactics get more results than good ones?
That line of thinking is what initially attracted me to Chris Nodder’s book Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation. Throughout its 320 pages, the book examines the dark patterns and means of persuasion that have infiltrated our profession and culture. While good UX professionals advocate ease of use, obvious disclosures to customers, and increasing confidence on the part of users, seemingly evil UX professionals take advantage of the users’ shortcomings to short-circuit their judgment and enhance the all-important conversion rate. Read More