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Irresistible Apps: Motivational Design Patterns for Apps, Games, and Web-based Communities by Chris Lewis

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Chapter     8

Understanding Motivational Dark Patterns

Motivational design raises ethical issues. Although we are bombarded throughout the day with designs intending to persuade us or motivate some activity—be it the constant barrage of advertising or inducements to slow down the car or spend more time in the supermarket—practitioners must still be wary of the ethical implications of designing irresistible apps. One man’s retention is another’s ensnarement.

In this chapter, motivational dark patterns will be introduced.1 These patterns violate user expectations by encouraging them to give up or jeopardize some resource to an extent that they were not expecting (time, money, social capital). The loss of these resources may cause users to experience ...

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