Jasmine McNealy Authors Article on Dark Patterns
Jasmine McNealy, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications associate director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project and associate professor, Media Production, Management, and Technology, is the author of “What Are Dark Patterns? An Online Media Expert Explains,” published on The Conversation on Aug. 3, 2021.
“Dark patterns are design elements that deliberately obscure, mislead, coerce and/or deceive website visitors into making unintended and possibly harmful choices,” McNealy explained. “They take the form of deceptively labeled buttons, choices that are difficult to undo and graphical elements like color and shading that direct users’ attention to or away from certain options.”
McNealy and colleague Stephanie T. Nguyen recently launched “I, Obscura,” a Zine intended to be a resource to highlight, educate, and engage practitioners and researchers on dark patterns in industries ranging from financial services and smart home devices to related children’s technologies.
According to McNealy, “A power imbalance exists between users and organizations, which makes it nearly impossible for individuals to always protect themselves from deceptive design practices. We created I, Obscura to help educate web users about the possibilities.”