You’ve probably come across plenty of websites with bad design, and in many of these cases it's just schoolboy errors that come with lazy creation. That kind of bad design is called a ‘UI anti-pattern’.
This is not what a Dark Pattern is.
A rather sinister-sounding term coined by London-based independent UX designer Harry Brignull, Dark Patterns are sneaky, carefully thought-out UI confusions. It sounds like something you'd expect to see on Charlie Brooker's 'Black Mirror', and to be honest, that wouldn't surprise me.
These Dark Patterns are intricately crafted UI's that are built on a solid understanding of human psychology in order to misdirect and confuse the user into making decisions. The user will accidentally choose to do something they wouldn't usually do, such as buying insurance with their online purchase, or accidentally signing up to recurring bills.
They’re dirty tricks that are played out simply to increase a company’s conversion rates, and it's really not okay.