Our Work on Deceptive Design

At Tech Hive Advisory, we believe that people should have access to a safer digital environment where digital rights and ethical design are prioritised over deceptive design. We believe we can achieve this through awareness creation, advocacy, research, and public action to engage regulators and designers to shape the policy landscape.

This year we tasked ourselves with tackling deceptive designs in Africa. Deceptive designs are user interface and design techniques used on websites, mobile applications (Apps), or any other digital medium to manipulate users to do something they did not intend to do in order to benefit the website or App owner.

Our work so far…

Earlier in the year, we set out to carry out comprehensive research exploring deceptive design use cases in Africa’s tech ecosystem, available here. Prior to this, we had put out extensive research on the art of deception by design, available here.

Regarding awareness creation, we have hosted a Twitter space session, a webinar and participated in a podcast to amplify awareness. More recently, we launched #DeceptiveDesign Tuesdays, a thread on social media to raise awareness about the usage of deceptive design as much as possible. We use infographics to illustrate different examples of deceptive patterns, and in a short thread, we explain how it impacts consumer choice.

Here is a link to some of the deceptive design tip we have highlighted:                                                 

Our Current Project.

Our deceptive design policy hackathon is in collaboration with our partners, Ikigai Innovation Initiative, World Web Foundation and the Tech Policy Design Lab. The Hackathon aims to bring stakeholders and actors in the tech ecosystem together to co-create an implementable policy solution towards tackling deceptive design in Africa.

The hackathon adopts a multi-stakeholder approach for regulators and policy experts to interact and exchange insights with product owners, product designers, engineers, and end users who are, more often than not, at the receiving end of deceptive designs.

The policy hackathon is a two-day virtual event slated for August 18th – 19th, 2022. Day 1(one) of the event would host experts in the space who would be sharing their insights and expert knowledge on the theme for the event. We would also be engaging consumer protection regulators from Nigeria and Kenya.

Day 2(two) of the competition would have a total of 5(five) teams battling for a combined grand prize of $3,000 USD. Each team would have the task to co-create a policy solution that could tackle deceptive design in Africa. The outcome aims to promote safe, responsible, and ethical design across the African continent. Finally, after producing these documents, we will engage consumer protection regulators in different African countries to raise awareness as their interest in digital services increases.

We have speakers drawn from different backgrounds, sectors, and organizations. We are excited to have representation from the consumer protection authorities from Kenya and Nigeria, World Wide Web Foundation, the Tech Policy Design Lab, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Aapti Institute.

You can register to attend the policy hackathon here.

We and our partner organisations believe there’s never been a better time with the continuous proliferation of ICT and digital technologies in the digital space. Since the harm associated with deceptive designs and their variegated expressions is not fully understood, there is a higher demand and need to safeguard consumers’ rights and autonomy in the digital space. We’re most anxious about the prospects of elevating global awareness of the impact of deceptive design on users’ freedom of choice.