For the uninitiated, Dark Patterns are website user interfaces that purposefully mislead a user into doing something that benefits the website’s owners. A classic example is the “add to basket” con, where adding a product to your basket gives you something you probably don’t want as well. These patterns are unfortunately pervasive across much of the web, and the site Darkpatterns.org has a great library of them.
As a more tech-literate denizen of the internet than average, I feel a great distrust to websites that make use of these techniques. It shows such contempt for the user, that instead of trying to gently persuade them to buy your product through low prices or excellent customer service, you’d rather trick them into spending money. Thus is my attitude towards Ryanair. Everyone hoped that their new website would move away from the old tricks, but unfortunately it hasn’t and I really like to avoid spending money with them unless absolutely necessary. Hopefully the Government will stamp out their devious ways, but until then – caveat emptor.