Illusive Design Pattern

Guilty Load

The copy for ending the Prime membership includes reminders of losing out.


Preventing a user from leaving for retention.


Apps like Amazon Prime and Facebook make the removal of an account a long and tedious process with multiple steps, guilt-ridden copy and hard to find interactions such as deleting an account and finding privacy settings.

Post-AI Altruheuristics

  • Loss Aversion
  • Extraneous Cognitive Load
  • Conformity Bias
  • Salient Bias
  • Trust: The user is made to feel that they are being pressured into staying when they want to leave.
CBT Distortions
  • Emotional Reasoning e.g. I feel guilty of deleting.
  • Catastrophizing e.g. The copy amplifies severity.
Circ's Principles
  • Balance: Always think about keeping the user in allostasis.
  • Calmness: Provide all information required upfront before the journey.
  • Transparency: Reduce anxiety by removing uncertainty and explaining algorithm updates.
  • Expectations: Reduce stress by providing control and reassurance of outcome.
Mental Health


Pre-AI Heuristics

Dark Patterns
  • Hard to Cancel: The user finds it easy to sign up or subscribe, but when they want to cancel they find it very hard.


Graphic Design


Don Norman Principles
  • Conceptual Model: Finding and quitting a service in the real world is straight forward.
Jakob Nielson Principles
  • Match Real World: Same as above.
  • Aesthetic and Minimalist Design: The user is overwhelmed with information and persuasive copy.