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 patters', these design choices have multi-sided harms baked into them. This project is an attempt to create a manual of ethical UI/UI 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.

Image by Everyday basics
Image by Mohamed Boumaiza

Project Themes

Unpacking Deceptive Design

'Deceptive Design' or 'dark patterns' are ubiquitous, harmful, and hard to define. The 'Unpacking Deceptive Design Blog' aims to create a body of work exploring the nature and impacts of deceptive design by inviting experts to deep dive and contribute.

Workshops and Consultations

Deceptive design today concerns researchers, civil society organisations, policymakers, designers and businesses. We aim to conduct workshops and stakeholder consultations to bring together and brainstorm solutions and strategies.

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. 

Manual for Practitioners

The core output for this project is to create a manual of ethical principles for UX and UI design which keep the human at the centre, engage deeply with multi-disciplinary research, and bring insights from a community of interested practitioners.

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.

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.

Our Process

This project involves strong research components with stakeholder engagement to enable deepening as well as widening the conversation on deceptive design. Here is the process which we will use to create the manual.