The situation I mean is where a UI tries to hijack a user action by sneaking in another one on top.

For example, there might be screen with a button that does something innocuous, eg “Continue”, but about 1/2 a second after appearing (just enough time for your mouse/finger to be heading to the button to click it), a dialog box pops up whose action button, eg “Buy premium version”, is right over where the innocuous button was, attempting to capture/intercept the click you intended for the now-hidden button.

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This is referred to as bait and switch, and it is a dark pattern.

The user sets out to do one thing, but a different, undesirable thing happens instead. The most famous example of digital bait and switch was Microsoft’s misguided approach to getting people to upgrade their computers to Windows 10.


They switched the meaning of the “X” button at the top right to mean the opposite of what it normally means. In all other versions of Windows going back to the 1980s, this button means “close”. In this specific instance, they changed it to mean “Yes, I do want to upgrade my computer to Windows 10”.

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