Illusive Design Pattern

Anxious Mistake

The danger alert uses color and copy to fuel anxiety for completing a transaction.


Pressuring the user for engagement.


Airbnb mention rarity, Amazon counts how much stock is left and other-commerce stores display how many people are viewing or have purchased the product. The user's anxiety is elevated pressuring them to purchase.

Post-AI Altruheuristics

  • Framing Bias
  • Negativity Bias
  • Loss Aversion
  • FOMO
  • Conformity Bias
  • Anxiety: Worry arises when other people are looking at the same time.
  • Trust: Not possible to tell if copy is real.
  • Values and Boundaries: User could have existing anxiety disorder.
CBT Distortions
  • Shoulds e.g. I should buy this quickly.
  • Catastrophizing e.g. What if it becomes sold out?
Circ's Principles
  • Balance: Always think about keeping the user in allostasis.
  • Transparency: Reduce anxiety by removing uncertainty and explaining algorithm updates.
Mental Health


Pre-AI Heuristics

Dark Patterns
  • Fake Urgency: The user is pressured into completing an action because they are presented with a fake time limitation.
  • Continuation: Danger or warning messages breaks scannability.
Graphic Design


Don Norman Principles


Jakob Nielson Principles
  • User Control and Freedom: There is no freedom when there is pressure.