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I call it negative design, it's sort of like hostile design, without the social nonsense attached. I don't know what it's called in UX or UI terms though, I'm sure it isn't negative design.

A good example of this design pattern in use is ellipses. Not only do they allow you to save space by placing extra actions within a drop-down menu, but they can be used to hide actions that designers don't want users to easily use.

ellipsis example

Another example, would be placing the "Delete Account" button deep within the settings pages. Or placing the signout in a drop-down menu (a la Facebook).

Question: What is the name for this way of designing?

Finding articles that describe this could be great.

The best I've got right now is "dark patterns". It's scarily close honestly, but curious what your thoughts are.

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Friction is the term designers use when they want users to make an action thoughtfully and deliberately (vs. something that is selected by accident). There are many reasons to design with friction:

  • Prevent errors or bad transactions
  • Slowing down bad actors (like when the "choose all the squares with stoplights in them" box appears after a few bad logins)
  • Making something intentionally more challenging (video games)

It's important to use the right kind of friction - hiding a button when it's needed deep in the bowels of a system is still kind of poor user experience. A confirmation modal might be the "better" friction.

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  • OK, friction, of course 🤦🏿‍♂️. The article you shared was really good, but I found the encompassing "topic": persuasive design, especially the part on salience). What do you think about this? Jun 26, 2023 at 20:56
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    Friction is the most appropriate term, but specifically the example with the ellipses also falls under Gradual/Progressive Disclosure. It's meant not so much to discourage users from using a specific action, as to not overwhelm the user with too many actions at once, and to reduce cognitive load. Jun 26, 2023 at 21:07
  • @KitangaNday Information architecture choices definitely can be designed with persuasion in mind (like having a big orange Buy Now button with a small blue No Thanks link under it) - I think Vitaly's comment is correct in the case of adding less-used actions under overflow menus. What appears to be dissuasion might just be the designer keeping a rare action from cluttering the UI.
    – Izquierdo
    Jun 26, 2023 at 21:19
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    @KitangaNday Done :) Jun 28, 2023 at 18:47
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    @VitalyMijiritsky you already got your first reference 😆 Jun 28, 2023 at 19:51
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Friction is indeed the most appropriate term, but specifically the example with the ellipses also falls under Gradual/Progressive Disclosure. It's meant not so much to discourage users from using a specific action, as to not overwhelm the user with too many actions at once, and to reduce cognitive load.

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