Decisions are everywhere in our online lives. Every time we open a link, read an article, make a purchase, or close a window we have made a choice. Each element of an online experience can influence the decisions that people make. Visual design, interaction design, interface elements, and digital copy all have the power to change what users choose.

Digital copy in choices offered by an interface is powerful. The words that appear in interfaces can support optimal decision making or they can persuade users to take an action that is against their best interests.

Choice Architecture

在2008年的书中轻推,Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein argued that a neutral presentation of options does not exist. When you ask someone to make a choice,how you offer up the alternatives impacts the answer。(Thiseffectis known as framing and can be a reason to be suspicious of certain opinion polls.) Knowing that you can change the way that someone will answer a question, how do you ask?

The presentation of a choice can support optimal decision making or it can lead people to be more likely to choose something that they will later regret. A “nudge” can be any element of the architecture of a choice that makes people more likely to make certain decisions.

Choice Architecture in User Experience

When we design websites, app interfaces, and other digital products we shape how people think. How we present choices impacts what people will decide to do. Many elements of user-experience design play a role in the architecture of choices online.

Visual design, interaction design, interface elements and language effect choice architecture

Elements of designs that impact choice architecture include:

  • Visual design:接口中的选项的视觉样式可能会影响用户所需的操作。一个选项可能比其他选项大,放置在人们更有可能看起来或特定视觉重量的地方。
  • Interaction design:The design of an interaction flow can steer people towards one choice. Designing the available paths of interaction in a way that prompts people to make choices without enough information leads to uninformed decision making.
  • 接口元素: The interface elements used in presenting choices limit or expand the options available. Presenting a choice with a单选按钮迫使人们选择一个选择。提供相同的选择series of checkboxesallows people to select as many answers as they feel are correct.
  • 语言:我们使用的单词更改用户可以制作的选择。在网站和界面本身的主要内容中使用的数字副本建立了上下文和工艺所提供的选择。

Each element can influence the decisions that people will make online. This article concentrates on the language used on the interfaces themselves. Interface copy sets the tone of a decision by changing the wording used in the options that users have available. We’ve observed that the trend towards usingmanipulative, needy language已遍及多种类型的界面副本。当用户可用的选择以操纵语言呈现时,该接口副本演示了黑暗模式。

Dark Patterns in Choice Architecture

Scare Tactics and Loss Accentuation

人feel更强烈的损失痛苦than they feel the joy of a gain. We often act irrationally out of fear of losing. That fear can be used in the presentation of choices to prompt users to act so they minimize the emotional discomfort that they feel when confronted with the possibility of a loss.

Interface copy on offers to add cancellation protection

This screenshot above shows an offer to protect a trip reservation. Choosing protection is clearly the direction in which the company nudges the user. The option to choose cancellation protection isvisually emphasized— it appears first, in bolded text, and with a link to the total cost of the trip that has been booked. Below that is the option to decline cancellation protection. Language in the interface提请注意损失的潜力。The copy repeats the exact amount of money that will be lost in the event of cancellation, adding an anxious tone to a simple choice.

Concentrating copy on the potential for a loss makes people more likely to change their choice. People pay more attention to负面经历than they do to positive ones. Fear is a powerful motivator that changes the architecture of a choice.

Creating Artificial Scarcity


A popup on Blue Apron creates artificial scarcity

在注册蓝色围裙餐具套件服务的过程中,出现模态弹出窗口。它提供有限时间,以吸引客户进行购买。将此选择呈现为模态窗口changes the flow of interaction: suddenly something surprising hides what the user had been working on before. Urgently written copy begs the reader toHold on!并利用交易。唯一的选择是Reject $50 OfforGet $50 Off

这个设计介绍人造稀缺性and then frames the decision a user must make as accepting or rejecting a one-time deal. The interface copy does not explain why this deal is only available in the next thirty minutes.创造稀缺性的结构变化choice:而不是选择尝试服务或选择外,用户现在必须选择接受或拒绝惊喜折扣。

Adding unnecessary time pressure to a choice and using urgent language do not support optimal decision making. Focus on creating a service that sells itself in as much time as your customers want to take.


Theframing effectsays that the context used to describe a question or decision impacts the answer that people will give. A needy pattern in choice architecture is adding emotional context to a decision that does not usually involve strong emotion. It may take one of the following forms:

  • Describing one option as being a基本真理对用户的反思(e.g., by suggesting what a generous/smart/exceptionally tasteful person the chooser of that option is)
  • Offeringchoices in emotionally charged language在界面中呈现普通选项,作为贵族决定或可怕的错误
Interface copy on the Susan G Komen website frames a credit card processing fee with emotional language
苏珊G Komen网站上的界面副本框架在情绪上指控中添加信用卡处理费的选项。



在界面设计中,match between the system and the real worldhelps people learn to navigate an online system. A similar match needs to exist betweenthe options described by digital copyand the可用的行动in the interface.

Trunk Club's copy shows a mismatch between options described and options available
Trunk Club’s website shows a mismatch between the service described and the options available on the interface.

Trunk Club’s copy promises more flexibility than it actually delivers. The language in the main heading (Get Trunks when you want them)在次要标题(We are not a subscription service – choose to get one time or recurring Trunks, which you can cancel at any time)不匹配用户可以选择的选项。首先,用户只能在三种不同的频率选择中选择,而第二个,所有选择都是基于订阅的。“一次”递送的选项实际上并未在注册过程的此阶段作为选择。

Our research for our recent ecommerce report found thatusers are less forgiving of inaccurate information than ever准备购买时。之间的不匹配copy used to describe a serviceandthe choices that a user can actually make是一个简单的失去信任方式。

Even Small Choices Count

在可用性测试中,我经常注意到人们在第一个人的界面上读取选择。正如他们大声思考,他们谈谈屏幕上显示的选择what they wantandwhat they will decide to do。They say “I can do…” before reading a list of radio buttons or “I want to…” before clicking on one button in a set.

您在界面上选择的副本要求人们同意声明。该陈述通常是关于他们自己或他们希望采取的行动。这是重要的用户体验立场来自 perspectiveto write interface copy that supports rather than undermines the decision-making process. Trust, expectations, and positive self-image all shape the associations that users will have with a product. An honest, direct presentation of choices creates trust and positive emotion.

请记住,客户满意度比少数人更重要换算here and there. People will remember that a business asked them to make a decision under pressure or with underhanded tactics. Short-term strategies likeinvasive advertisements,请不要走出弹出窗口而且操纵选择架构可能会导致一些快速的销售,但它们会破坏企业创造长期客户忠诚度的努力。


Thaler,R.H.&Sunstein,C. R.(2008)。轻推:改善关于健康,财富和幸福的决定。纽黑文,CT:耶鲁大学出版社。