Service malpractice

Amazon’s slimy dark patterns

An open letter to

Currently, if a user is browsing books and clicks an author’s name, the user is moved into the Kindle store.

Does this make sense? What about clicking an author’s name suggests an interest in Kindle content?

I do not believe this has anything at all about the user’s preference. It has only to do with Amazon’s preference. It is a blatant dark pattern — a behavioral economics “nudge” to get an extra fraction of percent of Kindle purchases, at the cost of user experience.

It is slimy. I wish y’all would respect your customers and rely on good service and honest persuasion instead of behavioral manipulation to maximize your profits.


The Design Grouch

Dumb ideas

Unhelpful helpfulness

It seems that most of my usability frustrations these days involve trying to prevent software from helping me in unhelpful ways.

Software wants to finish my sentences for me, correct my word choices, anticipate my formatting decisions, offer me a handy tip on how to do what I am doing.

The experience is like being followed around by a clueless, eager college graduate who just wants to be helpful, but has no idea how, but who somewhere picked up the idea that demonstrating an intent to be helpful is better than doing nothing.

Doing nothing is far better than constantly forcing me to undo unhelpful helpfulness.