Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Rise of the Guilt-Ridden ‘No’

Julianne Tveten, Vice:

It’s probably fair to suggest that most people using the internet want to save money, make healthy choices, and keep abreast of current events. What they don’t want, is to give companies their email addresses to prove it.

Much of the online marketing world, however, seeks to change this. Growing numbers of websites, from magazines to clothing stores, have adopted “exit-intent pop-ups,” rectangular modals that blanket a webpage, prompting a user to join a mailing list. Beyond their visual intrusiveness, these ads prey on the uncertain user, foregoing the neutral simplicity of a “yes/no” option in favor of charged, shame-inducing language.

There are few things on the web that I dislike as much as this recent development. It is, at once, a dark pattern and an anti-pattern: it’s awful, and it surely turns readers away instead of attracting them.