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About the Project

Deceptive design has found its way into a plethora of online experiences- from e-commerce apps to social media, from fintech services to education. Often called 'dark patterns', these design choices have multi-sided harms baked into them. This project is an attempt to create a manual of ethical UI/UX design principles which can be used by practitioners to tackle deceptive design. 


This project is an initiative by the The Pranava Institute, and is funded in part by the University of Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab.

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Project Focus Areas

Ethical Practice

Ethical design practice begins with recognition of the widespread impact of design choices as they are deployed across sectors and societies. We seek to explore how alternative ethical practice can be fostered though stakeholder consultations.

Workshops and Consultations

Deceptive design today concerns researchers, civil society organisations, policymakers, designers and businesses. As part of this project, we have organised workshops, focussed group discussions and conducted interviews with stakeholders in order to better understand deceptive design, as well as strategise on how it can be tackled. 

Value-centered Design

Deceptive design practices propagate harmful values by tricking, manipulating, misdirecting, hiding information, etc. Such practices need to be replaced with design embodying values such as trust, privacy, safety, accessibility and transparency- which address the needs of users and stakeholders involved. 

Policy approaches

The project also explores what are possible policy approaches to address deceptive design as a regulatory challenge by engaging with consumer protection, data and privacy laws, competition and other allied fields of regulatory action. It will also engage with stakeholders to understand needs for coalition building, and standard-setting etc. as ways to move forward.

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