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Fortnite, UI Patterns, and Desired Behaviours

Design has a massive impact on user behaviour. Sadly, it's often ignored when it comes to security and privacy.

Fortnite, UI Patterns, and Desired Behaviours

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Reasonably Accurate 馃馃 Transcript

Welcome to morning with uh mornings with Mark episode 77. Um back at you here uh live streaming um daily Monday through Friday after a bit of a break to kick off the summer, as well as after a little bit of a technical glitch got about three minutes into this episode a couple minutes ago before the camera battery died because apparently it also decided to take a vacation.

So what we want to talk about today is Fortnite, user interface design and driving specific behaviors. The reason we're talking about this at least pivoting it off Fortnite is because I had the second of my summer tech columns for CBC Radio's ABA Morning Show and we were talking about Fortnite because season five is releasing later this week on the 12th.

And there's been a lot of buzz obviously about the game. It's making money fist but also around kids being addicted to it. So I did a bunch of research dug into the interface dug into the dynamics of the gameplay looking to find what we call dark patterns. So a dark pattern is a user interface design pattern that drives some behavior that the users would generally consider against their interest or something that they were tricked into doing.

So something that supports the developer or their business model, but not what the user wants to be doing. So an example of this is very common in smartphone games when the game is set up to drive your desire to pay money to continue along the path. So instead of just letting you pay or letting you play my apologies, So instead of just letting you play and enjoy the game, it purposefully stops you at critical points where you're most engaged in order to draw out more money.

That's a dark pattern. We see them in other aspects as well. Um Sometimes maliciously, you know, more often than not through specific desire, the developer or their business model, but we see them by accident as well. And I think that's really where we want to pivot to uh in this conversation around security and privacy.

But for the record, um you can see the uh or you can listen to the conversation I had with Halley Cottenham on the Ottawa morning show um later on today, I'll post that link up. It's a great conversation diving specifically into Fortnite, what parents need to know.

Um There were no dark pas there, it turns out that game is addictive simply because it's really well balanced. It's fun and there's a lot of people playing it. So there's a lot of social pressure behind it. Um but it's a great conversation, a great discussion I had with Halley, um, check that out when it goes up, um, online later today.

Why I wanted to talk about this and continue that sort of, uh, or use that as a jumping off point for Mornings with Mark was, um, insecurity. We have a significant problem when it comes to usability. In fact, there is, uh, something sort of ingrained in the, um, in the mythos in the fabric of security that it is security versus usability.

I'm gonna call BS on that right now. Um It's not, and that's normally um it's gotten that way simply through ignorance and there are a lot of patterns within security that are utterly atrocious and I would consider them dark patterns even though they're not done on purpose, but they drive undesirable user behaviors or behaviors that are in the users.

Um not in their user's interest. So easy example is whether you're on Windows or on Mac. If you're installing an application or an application, you're running needs additional privileges, it will pop up with a dialog box that asks for your user name and for your password to get administrator privileges.

Now, that's an understandable reaction, but you think about what the information that's presented to you, the user is not the process or at least not enough details to know what's actually asking for these additional permissions. Essentially just a dialogue box shoved in your face saying give me admin privileges and you hope that that's tied to the installation you're running or you hope that that's tied to the application that you're running.

But there's really no way for advanced users, let alone normal users to make an informed decision based on this user interface pattern. So people just aimlessly type in their administrative password because that's what they've been trained to do. The user interface have has trained people to enter these credentials without asking questions.

Because the information you need there is what program is asking for these privileges who launched that program? And what does the program intend on doing with them? How long will it have those privileges? Those are the kind of things you need to make that decision. None of that information is present on almost any os that presents that type of a dialogue box, that's a horrible design pattern and it's easily fixed.

It's just we don't have that effort made around usability and security. Even though we know from all the user interface and all the UX user experience design research that good design will drive your desired behaviors, your desired outcomes. We need to take advantage of that. We see that in a mix as well on social networks around privacy where the default for the settings on a post really drive certain behaviors and we know that people rarely change the default.

So if when you're posting on Facebook, it would default to public. Almost all your posts are going to be public. So Facebook for the record last time I checked actually saves your last preferred setting. So for most people that will be only friends, but you need to check and you can change it every time you post, but you need to check every time you post.

Same on linkedin, same on Twitter, same on insta all this kind of stuff. You need to verify these settings because the defaults may not be in your best interest. So I think that ties back to us as builders, as tech, we need to be well aware of this.

There are times where you want to drive specific behaviors for from the user, from the development perspective, from the system perspective for security, that means, you know, pushing them towards things like multi factor authentication, making that a really seamless easy experience for privacy, that means building in privacy by design.

In fact, that entire philosophy is about using UX patterns to drive privacy positive behaviors. The flip side is very true. Some people are out there, they have a different perspective on things. They are trying to build their businesses, they are trying to make money, they will be using dark patterns to drive behaviors that are against the user's interest, but in their business interests, I think it's a fascinating thing to be on the lookout.

I'll post a bunch of stuff on Twitter in the comments down below as well for you to do some more research, to be aware of these, to start spotting these patterns so that you can understand why you're taking certain actions or why your user community or your are taking specific actions.

And then use that to your advantage, make sure that you build in positive outcomes through the default behaviors. So you can help shift things to more security by design privacy design by design because that's how we're going to get better. I think if we embrace usability, if we embrace the study of user behaviors and how to influence those through user interfaces through user experience, we'll be far better off.

We'll have a far more secure world, we'll be far more respectful of users' privacy. And as always, this show is driven by interaction. Hit me up online at marknca in the comments down below and whatever platform you are seeing this on as well as by email

What are you seeing out there as far as user patterns? Are you seeing things that drive towards positive towards negative? Send me some examples, send me your thoughts and let's get a discussion going on this. I hope you are set up for a fantastic day. I'll talk to you online and I'll see you on the show tomorrow.

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