Research

Sean Munson

Spring 2020

Redesigning YouTube to Remove Dark Patterns 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This DRG is only open to students who are continuing on from the Winter 2020 version.

Many people express concern with the ways that social media like YouTube captures their attention. Users describe being “sucked in” when they would rather be doing something else. Designers, meanwhile, employ their knowledge of psychology to “hook” users and maximize user engagement.

In this DRG, our research team will conduct interviews to generate and evaluate potential redesigns of the YouTube mobile app using paper mockups. Some of these have already been reported (e.g., autoplay and infinite scroll), but others likely still remain to be identified. Conversely, we will also use the same methods to identify light patterns that support people in using YouTube in ways that align with their enduring personal values.

In parallel, we will also design and test versions of the YouTube mobile app that are redesigned to be as dark or as light as possible. For example, one light version of the YouTube mobile app might feature a “search first” interface that reduces the role of recommended videos. Throughout the quarter, we work with developers to implement our designs using the YouTube API.

Planned activities:

  • Conduct and analyze interviews to generate and evaluate potential redesigns of the YouTube mobile app
  • Create specifications and work with developers to implement the most promising features in a redesigned version of the YouTube mobile app
  •  Run a pilot deployment study with a prototype version of our redesigned YouTube mobile app

Required availability:

  • Attend our 2-hour class each week: Time TBD
  • Work 4 to 6 hours each week outside of meetings

This DRG will be led by PhD student Kai Lukoff, with guidance from Associate Professor Sean Munson (HCDE) and Assistant Professor Alexis Hiniker (iSchool).


Dr. Munson's Research Group archive