The State of Deceptive Design in Africa : Case studies from Nigeria and Kenya

Deceptive designs are user interface and design techniques used on websites, mobile applications (Apps), or any other digital medium to manipulate users into doing something they did not intend to do to benefit the website or App owner. Deceptive designs can range from subtle omissions to explicit lies, but they all serve to undermine users' objectives and waste time or money they did not intend to spend. Furthermore, users' access to privacy and control over their psychological and behavioural autonomy are jeopardised by the exploitation of deceptive designs by digital service providers, undermining the concept of freedom of choice.

This policy brief provides insight into the state of play of deceptive designs in Nigeria and Kenya. It examines various expressions of deceptive design on e-Commerce, e-Transaction and flight aggregation platforms. Our analysis found that deceptive design includes using countdown timers, use of pop-ups, false pricing schemes, forceful creation of accounts, hidden charges and information, and so on.