Colin M. Gray is an Associate Professor at Purdue University and is program lead for an undergraduate major and graduate concentration in UX Design. They hold appointments as Guest Professor at Beijing Normal University and Visiting Researcher at Newcastle University. Their research focuses on the ways in which the pedagogy and practice of designers informs the development of design ability, particularly in relation to dark patterns, ethics, and design knowledge. Colin’s work crosses multiple disciplines, including human-computer interaction, instructional design and technology, policy and law, design theory and education, and engineering and technology education.

Combatting Dark Patterns through HCI Scholarship and Regulation

Thursday 2nd February 2023


In this talk, I share findings from over five years of my work on dark patterns that addresses the growing threat of deceptive design practices on technology systems. I use the concept of “dark patterns” as a point of connection to identify emerging synergies among design, computer science, ethics, law, and policy. In the last two years there has been a surge of scholarship that describes both the presence and the impact of dark patterns in digital systems. Scholarly and regulatory efforts are increasingly intertwined, with the potential to link emerging definitional work with guidance for technology practitioners and enforcement action. I will describe a portion of my recent work in mapping a preliminary ontology of dark patterns, using examples to show impact and the potential for harm. Building on a synthesis of dominant taxonomies of dark patterns from academic literature and regulatory reports, I will share a proposal that maps interrelated high-level, meso-level, and low-level patterns—building towards a characterization of knowledge types that can be used to describe dark patterns at multiple scales—engaging HCI scholars and regulators in identifying and fighting back against these harmful practices. I will then link these efforts to a systematic review of dark patterns scholarship to demonstrate areas of strength and opportunities for future study.

Employing “Everyday Ethics” in HCI/UX Practices

Friday 3rd February 2023

In this master class, as a researcher and computer scientist, you would be able to investigate ethical awareness and action in a range of technology-focused disciplines. For example, developers/UX designers/practitioners’ experiences and attitudes around ethics. This you would do through a method that would help to increase practitioners’ (your present/future self) everyday ethical awareness and action. This class would train you to be better “everyday ethicists.”