Presenter: Clayton Dewey and Johanna Bates
We design and build websites because we want people to come to them. There is so much information, so much noise, especially now, that website makers are often pressured to keep users’ attention, no matter what it takes. This often means attempting to “engage” users in ways that we would never dream of doing with a person face-to-face: interrupting them, stalking them around a web page, and using deceptive, manipulative language to get them to remain on a site or take a particular action.
But just because these UX tactics can sometimes garner us a few extra newsletter subscriptions, donations, or purchases, does that mean we should use them?
We want people to read our content, find our helpful resources, donate to our organizations, and discover and purchase our products. In addition, we are often asking our users to share vulnerable info with us, such as credit card info for a donation or a purchase, or to fill out a survey so we can better understand their needs.
Especially in this time of global upheaval, when most people are carrying around extra stress and cognitive load, this contract between site makers and users is particularly delicate.
Using the framework of the Planned Parenthood FRIES definition of consent (Freely-given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, Specific), we will look at some common UX patterns, including modals, manipulinks, and other dark patterns, and consider how they can erode user focus, attention, and trust. We will share some alternate examples of patterns that are respectful of users. You will leave with a consentful UX framework to bring to your own creative design and development work.