The rise of dedicated UI & UX disciplines was a new dawn in tech. Users would benefit from having focused professional expertise, providing superior interactivity and ease-of-use for all.
But, as with all of humankind's discoveries, it depends upon what is in the wielder's heart. (Or his/her manager's...)
There have been brilliant designs that have fundamentally changed the way we interact with our computers and devices. The majority of UI & UX professionals committed to achieving usability goals.
There have also been those who have used their skills for dark arts. From startups to some of the biggest software companies in the world, designers have used everything from 'behavior shaping' to visual bias in waging psychological warfare on their (supposedly cherished) users.
Some Free-to-Play games have been on the front lines of this, seeking murky new ways to separate users from their cash or increase engagement. Now there's suggestions that it's creeping into premium games.
It's a distasteful approach that morphs players into wallets that must be emptied as frequently as possible.
Here's hoping designers continue to push back against these 'dark patterns' and remain committed to providing users with the best possible user experience.