I am reading about Dark Patterns but it is confusing if there is a solution for it. I have read numerous types of them and have gone through research papers but I couldn't find a solution to it.
From the dark-patterns description (emphasis added):
A design pattern which is carefully crafted to accomplish some result but does not have the user’s interests in mind.
In other words, a dark pattern is an aspect of a user's experience in which they are intentionally taken advantage of; the site/developers are not designing an experience best suited to meet their customers' needs. Instead, they have contrived one in which their own wants (or stakeholders' desires) take priority.
Dark patterns can emerge through a number of ways. A non-exhaustive list of strategies includes:
- lack of transparency to the user as to what the status of the system is
- confusing wording or interfaces
- hiding options or settings out of plain view
- preselecting options that the user may not want
- presenting upgrade paths as if they are necessary for basic functionality
- making it particularly difficult to cancel a service
The solution to avoiding dark patterns, naturally, is to simply not design in a way that attempts to usurp users of their power of choice.
One could argue that 'dark' patterns are not necessarily bad in itself, because often they are just designed and/or implemented without validating whether it is fit for purpose. Other times there is a malicious or harmful intent not clearly communicated to the user, and again the patterns are not the issue here because in other contexts they would be perfectly suitable.
In both instances, education on the part of designers and developers is the key here. It is the root cause of the problem that most designers and developers are not trained or equipped to deal with ethical problems, and the managers also don't have the tools required to manage this at their level. Most importantly, the company vision and culture needs to be authentic in its goal to try and help the users rather than seek profit.
There's no quick and easy fix to this, but there are steps we can start to take towards addressing this. There are other questions with the design ethics tag that you might also want to have a look.