Ryanair’s new website – still hiding some mean tricks with Dark Patterns
For anyone who is familiar with Ryanair knows the other words that are mentioned in the same sentence – poor customer service, deceptive ad ons and over the top charges. The website was a garish yellow and blue colour scheme complete with a unwieldy user interface and appalling user experience.
Out with the old. In with the new.
Back in November 2013, Ryanair promised an overhaul of its digital and mobile assets and released a fresh looking website which seemed long overdue. The new website felt modern and a far cry from its former self.
However, a fresh lick of paint is all this new website has. A recent visit to the site proved just that (Side note : Why was I on the Ryan air website? I’ll explain later). Sure, gone are the annoying “automatically selected for you” add ons and you need to manually select it but even so, under its bonnet, the website is hiding some mean tricks.
The first part on the details page is the travel insurance part. I already had travel insurance cover and didn’t need one. It tells you under the dropdown “Already insured? Select “Don’t insure me” in the dropdown box.
Ok. That seems simple enough until that is …
Where is this “Don’t insure me”?
Oh! There it is. Tucked conveniently between Denmark and Finland. Trust me, I had to do three takes to find it myself and I am sure that this wasn’t an oversight by Ryanair’s designers to put that where it is. Unsuspecting visitors may end up selecting the insurance to avoid the hassle of having to find this “dont insure me” option.
Update – This happened http://d.pr/i/WCv0 (They have changed it to make it user friendly). #success
This trick is used on a lot of websites and really leaves a bad taste in your mouth as its so easy to slip up on this.The screenshot below is from their contact box on the way to completing the purchase. Pay close attention to the checkbox.
If you only skimmed the text, then you would assume that if you left the box unticked, you would receive the information about your booking only unless your subscribed. However, the next two sentences are contradictory stating that you are essentially signing up to their 3rd party marketing list and ticking this box you are opting out of it.
I wonder how many people left the box unticked and unwittingly ended up on Ryanair’s marketing list.
UX Dark Patterns
These methods of confusing visitors and customers and influencing them to complete tasks they wouldn’t otherwise have is known as Dark Patterns. A carefully crafted user interface with the aim of tricking the visitor into doing things such as buying unnecessary insurance or signing up to the marketing list. Dark patterns take into account human psychology and use it against the visitor.
They rely on the visitor being too lazy to notice or too busy to do anything about it once they realise about it.
User experience design is ultimately all about helping customers and making their life easy on the website/app. Using these dark patterns, you may be able to increase the conversions of your goals in the short term but annoying customers means that in the long run, you will be considered in the same league as Ryanair..and who would want that?
Back to why I was on the Ryanair website in the first place. I was searching for a direct flight at a convenient time to a city I was travelling to for a conference. All other flights either had stopovers or would take ages to get there. Unfortunately, Ryanair seemed to have the flights I needed. So it wasn’t the cost that persuaded me rather the convenience of the flight times. God help me.