Barriers to a Well-Functioning Digital Market: Exploring Dark Patterns and How to Overcome Them

Date
2022-01-04
Authors
Kitkowska, Agnieszka
Högberg , Johan
Wästlund, Erik
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Abstract
In a well-functioning digital economy, consumers should be able to make autonomous and informed choices, and companies compete fairly. One of the barriers preventing such well-functioning is dark patterns—designs that mislead users into making specific purchase-related choices. In this research, through a qualitative inquiry (expert interviews), we classify dark patterns based on the harmful ways such designs affect the digital market. Moreover, we analyze data using the behavior change framework and illustrate ways to prevent dark patterns and grant consumers greater protection and autonomy. Our exploratory results outline potential solutions policymakers might apply to improve digital market well-functioning.
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Human-centricity in a Sustainable Digital Economy, choice architecture, consumer decisions, dark patterns, decision making, digital market, user empowerment
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