Shedding light on assessing Dark Patterns: Introducing the System Darkness Scale (SDS)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Dark Patterns are elements in interfaces designed to misdirect, confuse, and lure users into unintended, involuntary actions. These are not just “sloppy” or “inelegant” designs without ill intent but are rather carefully crafted with an understanding of human psychology. Dark patterns are omnipresent as part of web and game-interfaces and highly effective. Hence, there is agreement that awareness and a better understanding is needed. The current study focuses on dark patterns from a user’s perspective in order to develop the ‘System Darkness Scale’ (SDS). The SDS is a set of questionnaire items which can be used to evaluate the darkness of a system and assign a score to it. Just as the SUS proved to be a quick and reliable tool to measure usability, the SDS aims to act as a validated tool to identify in how far a system or service has incorporated “dark mechanisms”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 35th British HCI and Doctoral Consortium 2022, UK
PublisherBCS Learning and Development Ltd
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022
Event35th International BCS Human-Computer Interaction Conference : Towards a Human-Centred Digital Society - Keele, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jul 202213 Jul 2022
Conference number: 35


Conference35th International BCS Human-Computer Interaction Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Dark Patterns
  • evaluation tool
  • SUS
  • user perspective
  • (un)ethical UI design


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