User Experience

How you are fooled online by “Dark UX”

What is Dark UX – Mislead Ethically

As online businesses and market gets competitive so does the war to acquire new users, even if that means at the cost of fooling or misleading users ‘ethically’.

Although there technically can’t be such a thing as ‘mislead ethically’, its a collective behavioural pattern businesses choose to adopt slyly to fool users online. Anything thats misleading has an unethical intent behind it. It’s a lot like how lawyers find loop holes in the system and get their way out same way product designers have found a loop hole called “Dark Ux” to get their way!

Power of Dark Side – Users believe What They See

Dark UX are subtle hints used in websites and apps to make a user perform an action which he might otherwise not choose to consciously do if presented with a clear picture of what is going on. Its a way to influence or trick users to get a desired product outcome in an undesired situation.

When we are online most of times we skim through information eg – terms and conditions of any app or website, we assume that whatever must be written would be under of purview of being reasonable.

Hence, if a company exploits a crucial point in a user journey,  and makes it look like something you would expect to see on a page contextually in a normal course of journey, then, its easier to trick the user and make him believe like he is doing the right thing while in reality it could be something else. Alot like a friend who is fake but you do not realise he is fake!

Example of Dark UX Pattern – How premium companies fool you to upgrade by using Dark UX Design Pattern

This video review of a medical insurance website is a great example of  how to spot “Dark UX Pattern” and be an aware netizen. (you can skip the read and watch the video directly 🙂 )

On a daily basis we do some or the other financial transaction online and skim through data assuming its true eg t&c in apps and website. Paying a premium is also a similar activity but done once a year. Most of users assume they will login to the website online and simply renew the amount pending from their account.

Use Case: As a user i am trying to pay my medical insurance renewal premium online. My insurance policy is for 5 Lac and My premium amount every year i pay is around Rs 6000, and this year i was upgraded to 10 Lac, i am not aware but good for me and then the catch is with that upgrade my premium amount also increases, and if i am not alert i would have probably paid for it as well assuming im doing right!



However issue happens when the businesses take this as an opportunity to over sell you.

Notice the Red Flags:

  1. The congrats! section looks like a part of the main information. Ideally a attention seeking pop up asking for my explicit permission would be better as oppose to a sneaky congrats and a
  2. Any information that a user has not explicitly indicated his intention about must not be assumed as a positive indication. Here for example by default my premium amount was set to the upgraded amount. That is plain bad practise.
  3. Having a separate UPGRADE button and then disclosing options makes more sense where you have taken explicit consent from user about his intention.

Disclaimer: The video is created only for educational purpose.

#WtfUx, FuckedUpUx, Industrial Design, usability, User Behaviour, User Experience, User Experience Review, User Psychology

#WtfUx : Bad user experience design can make you feel dumb in the washroom

You must have heard of kids getting locked in the washroom but its so embarrassing to imagine if an adult was struggling to find his way out. Washroom is one place you would not want to overload your brain with any form of cognitive processing, i mean getting in and out of a washroom should be a piece of cakewalk right? Not for the washroom designed in the lobby area of The Trident Hotel- at BKC in Mumbai.  The hotel like one of those over-friendly friends who is constantly around for no good reason tried to be “over creative” by designing a very confusing looking washroom lock and in that process successfully flushing down the drain basic principles of user centric designs  which are required to be adhered while designing objects of daily use.


(Image by RuthlessUx: Lobby area washroom / or as it is labelled in hi-fi settings as cloak room (ladies) at the Trident Bkc, Mumbai)

Why in the world would a designer have an open knob separate and a lock unlock knob separate? And to dig their own grave further add shabby “suggestive” stickers on them which are peeling off! Argh! I have coined a term for these kind of designers – “Creative Assholes” Lol. Because they’re doing something not just stupid and annoying, but mean.

Usability is a common courtesy that designers owe to their potential users and a good user experience designer  (not restricted to digital products, it could be a space experience designer, industrial designer working on ergonomics of usability etc) will always indirectly and lucidly amalgamate the abstract logic of usability with literal understanding of common sense in forms and designs that’s more digestible and intuitive based on the past experiences of the users and seems to be a part of common sense.

Why would a designer make a simple task like opening a washroom lock complicated – to be different? to think out of the box? to be abstract? – unless they wanted to do some sort of ‘IQ’ test on how peoples brain function after peeing or pooping? or may be are people that attentive after they have eased themselves? or can people find their way out of our so called innovative lock system?


The moment you make a user think for a task that is “more mechanical or routine” in nature and doesn’t really require “thinking” you have clearly lost as a designer and delivered a #WtfUx. In simple language any routine task where a user doesn’t have to think much and can understand fast from the design and placement of the sections or its intuitive design visuals is more probable to accomplish that task – (in this case its not the first time a person would be unlocking a washroom door to exit. which means its a learnt behavior and complicating that is stupidity)


The left designs are way more usable and intuitive then the right hand one

Empathy is the key to designing usable products and we as designers should put our self in the position of the person who will will eventually use your product.

I mean i totally buy the fact that you need to be creative but this knob design does anything but give me a delightful experience.  If you wish to reinvent the wheel, then the usability aspect can never be compromised? Be it Maruti or Rolls Royce the wheel shape is round for both organisations vehicles. Rolls Royce simply because they can, don’t go ahead and build a complicated hexagon shape wheel.

I know complaining about a design problem at a luxury hotel might make you question “umm am i the only one who is feeling this knob is awkward? or do other people feel the same? Its intimidating and most people i interact with just feel that its them who are incapable of figuring the way out and feel they will be seen as a fool or a less intelligent person if they speak about a problem such as this.

So keep a watch for that “Creative Asshole” around you.

Cheers & Keep it #RuthlessUx

design thinking, FuckedUpUx, Interface Design, Product Design, usability, User Experience, ux review, Video Review

When networking is over friendly : Linkedin UX & Usability Review

Linkedin has always tried to make networking fun and engaging. But even the monopoly in this field does not deter them to make some silly usability and Ux glitches. I mean before they implement such functions and features what do they even think?

This is one reason why i love to dig down and critique them. You are never short of content here 🙂

In one of my previous articles about linkedin regarding their ui revamp on the design i had pointed out some very basic design changes which were not really necessary and more over changes which degraded the ux from the then existing ux.

But then thats LinkedIn for you.


Keep it Ruthless


design thinking, FuckedUpUx, Product Design, Product Review, User Experience, ux review

Re-invent the user behaviour pattern wheel Or Revise it?

Today the need to look different and be different all the time has become more like a necessity for social acceptance, be at work or personal. We want to be seen as innovators and be applauded all the time. The subtle societal notion of ‘if you’re not doing anything different, is equivalent to you’re not doing anything valuable’ is actually taken very seriously today. But at what point does one decide what is actually and truly different and what is valuable? Because sometimes you could be doing something that’s different but it turns out that it’s not valuable.

The clear answer lies in the adoption curve of the eventual users of such the product or service. Because technology changes quickly compared to the peoples’ adaptation habits and learning curve, which is comparatively slower.  Because as humans we have over the years learnt and formed a collective pattern of behaving in a similar fashion towards some of the most generic situations. And our reactions to those are more or less same if not drastically different.

Anything we design is eventually doing either of the two things – displacing the old user behaviour pattern or simply extending them.

Changing the collective user behaviour pattern is nothing short of what I would call as a Digital Evolution today.

User Behaviour Pattern is not just limited to Humans but animals as well have an accumulated and evolved learnt behaviour over generations that make them behave in a collective way. I recently read a case study about “Mountain lions fear humans, flee when they hear our voices”. It reveals how human behaviour as a predator to the felines – which is a predator to other animals – has eventually caused these species to develop a type of a fear based learning mechanism to protect themselves from humans.

Designers are often reluctant to take advantage of the already existing conventions that have been followed and over the period and which has been subconsciously well learnt by the users.

But the designers get tempted to try and reinvent the wheel because they feel that they always need to do something new and different that has not been done before. While that’s a good thought to start at but as designers there are certain start points and basics that need to be adhered to. Like you clearly need to define the learning curve vs. the value you are trying to replace of the already existing solution or convention.

How to make the users learning curve as minimal as possible and yet achieving the eventual product and business goal is something that a designer must always strive to do.

So what needs to be kept in mind is to ask yourself that do I really need to reinvent the wheel or revise it?

A quick and literal litmus test here is that all automobile companies use the same shape of wheels, which were invented way back in circa 3,500 B.C. They have all the resources and funds to make a square wheel, a trapezium shaped wheel and so on.

Point is they don’t shy from using existing conventions and technology because by leveraging the existing they make their own innovative part of the product better. And that’s what the people need -a better version of anything existing. Nature adapts and evolves and so do we as humans. We build on the existing to make the present much more delightful.

A Quick example would be corporate parks having unnecessary complicated design for the most simple of the things. Eg: Elevator Call buttons

This is the mot simple and easy to understand elevator call button

The button you see here is the easiest way to understand a elevator call button without any ambiguity.

Now most of the corporate park utility designs are complicated for example the images of buttons below.

Conventions which have been used and already learnt by the users is a great way to kickstart design thinking process as it puts less cognitive load on their minds and also makes them feel less dumb. We have to as designers or utilities keep in mind that if the user is finding it difficult to use the service or object designed its our fault and not the users. 


Revising or enhancing user behaviour is a better option than completely reinventing because unless it really displaces the value of what is already existing its adaptability and scalability is highly  questionable.

Hence keeping things reasonably simple is more important than making them functionally fancy and ambiguous.

User Experience

Data & Experience Design

Speaking at the  Women Techmakers July meetup organised by the Google Developer Group – Mumbai

The relationship of #data and #design is as old as it gets. Speaking on one of the hottest topics in the tech industry about how data needs to be made consumable to the end user whether B2B or B2C. Catch me speaking on two case studies of Spotify and Wigzo and get insights on how to leverage data to take better and informed decision as a business or an end customer.

The more we head towards digitising our living the more we require to craft better experience to synergise the equation between man and machine. What consumers actually care is how your product or technology is going to enhance their existing version of life and not the tech or #machinelearning #algorithm that your product is built on.

Get the presentation to my Google Talk below



To download Click here



Speaking at the Panel


Design in the Physical world vs Design in the digital world


At the Panel


Artificial Intelligence, Branding, Machine Learning, User Experience

A video is worth a thousand words

Today as we have less patience and even less time, And with technology advancing in leaps and bounds and marketing becoming more and more dynamic to match upto the consumers needs and demands its more than important today to make sure your message is sent across is the right context to your potential customer and not lost in translation.

Creating a holistic user experience not only involves designing a seamless product but also designing communication thats pleasant and understood in its true form.

Recently at Wigzo Technologies  to serve this purpose we took a call to get an explainer video designed for our business.


Wigzo is a Contextual Marketing Platform- Dedicated to Marrying Machine Learning to Marketing. It helps marketers send Smarter Communication in Email or In-App. Which Means changing content in real time using Device, Location, Behaviour, Weather, and History. and build smarter more relevant communications. It means Real Time Personalisation of content in Email and In-App notifications. Marketers

Why do businesses need to put efforts in making right communication channels?

Humans process visual data batter than any other form of data representation. Visualisation works from a human perspective because humans respond and process visual data better than any other type of data.

Human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. 

Source :

Since we are visual creatures by nature, we can use this skill to enhance data processing and organisational effectiveness.

Explainer videos are a good way to break the ice when it comes to communicating your product to your potential customers, this goes more for B2B businesses where the products directly affect the working & revenue of the businesses.

The most important aspect about communication is to get the message across in a consistent manner no matter where the delivery of the message is.

This also reduces the ambiguity which comes from manual communication. It is also a great way to leave a good recall value of your business in the minds of the people. Not only does an explainer video re-emphasize your brand value but also is a good package that can used in marketing your business. It also creates a good user experience for customers trying to explore and connect with your business.

It can serve as a good first touch point between your potential users and your business.