Tales from the Darkside is a research project supported by the Privacy Good Research Fund

dark patterns
user privacy
UX design

the research

‘Dark patterns’, or unduly persuasive design, supposedly undermines user privacy and agency. But what agency do UX designers have regarding their designs? Tales from the Darkside aims to understand the perspectives of designers in New Zealand regarding decisions about user choice and privacy decision-making.

our team

Cherie Lacey

Dr Cherie Lacey is a lecturer in Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research explores the ways in which the design of ‘smart’ technologies mediates relationships. Situated within the field of Science and Technology Studies, Cherie has published in the areas of data privacy and ethics, dark patterns, digital wellbeing, and user subjectivity.

Her personal website can be accessed here

Catherine Caudwell

Dr Catherine Caudwell is a lecturer in User Experience Design at the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington. Catherine’s research takes a qualitative and interdisciplinary approach to exploring how relationships with emerging technologies are created, reinforced, and reimagined through the nexus of design, marketing, media, and public adoption.

Alex Beattie

Alex is a PhD candidate at Victoria University Wellington researching the relationship between new media technologies, disconnecting from the internet and wellbeing. His PhD project is titled ‘The Manufacture of Disconnection’ and investigates technology-based ways to disconnect from the internet, as well as the entrepreneurs and software developers behind the technologies. Alex has featured in Radio New Zealand, The Listener and The Spinoff and has turned his research into a wellbeing workshop called Healthy Tech Habits.

His personal website can be accessed here

rethinking design and user privacy


We are producing a range of materials to highlight the perspectives of UX designers concerning dark patterns and user privacy


On Tuesday 20 October 2020 as part of NetHui, we are bringing together UX designers, privacy experts and government officials to discuss the influence of design on user privacy.



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