Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Obfuscation by Disclosure: A Lawyerly Design Pattern

In a similar vein to Dark Patterns comes this article from the ever-elusive Kontra:

This is not earth shattering news. Not even news per se. It’s what you get if you were to slow down the insane rush of ‘news’ just a split second to see how the sausage is made. In this instance, how the news (Comcast acquisition of TimeWarner) is packaged, from a quick, high-level design point of view.

What we have here is a legal document dressed as a press release masquerading as a blog post presented at a corporate website in a section called “ComcastVoices: A Place For Conversations With Comcast”. In other words, it’s lobbying collateral raised to the level of public conversation.

You’ve probably noticed these patterns in all sorts of legal documents, but particularly in contracts. Canadian regulators certainly did: they passed a law stating that all cellular contracts must be presented to consumers in plain language. This should be the standard where appropriate and applicable.