‘Dark Patterns’ In Web Design Are Now Banned In California

‘Dark Patterns’ In Web Design Are Now Banned In California

A Primer On Dark Patterns, And Why California’s Privacy Law Bans Them

A Primer On Dark Patterns


In 2018, California passed a hugely significant data privacy law called the California Consumer Privacy Act. This landmark law is considered to be one of the strongest privacy protection laws in the United States. It enables consumers and internet users to better control and monitor how their personal data is stored, shared, and sold by businesses. It makes it easy for people to refrain from sharing personal information in the first place. 


In recent months, California legislators expanded the law to prevent companies from using “dark patterns.” A dark pattern is a trick companies play on users to get data from them. Often, dark patterns send users down complex click-holes for unclear reasons. The effect is to confuse users and ultimately sucker them into submitting an email address, credit card info, or personal information.


In a world where tech companies and politicians are rarely able to understand one another, this piece of legislation marks a significant milestone in favor of privacy. Efforts to confuse users, lead them down an unclear path or make it difficult to opt-out of subscribing all fall squarely into the category of dark patterns. This legislation represents an intervention at the level of website interaction design – marking a complex conversation between lawmakers and online businesses.  


As ever, customer trust prevails. If you are an online business looking for ways to engage your audience without resorting to dark patterns, make ASTRALCOM your partner. Learn more about our expertise in conversion marketing.


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