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Online Choice Architecture – How Do We End Up Making Decisions We Don’t Want To Make?

 |  April 29, 2022

By:Ollie Sugg and Vedran Lesic (Competition and Markets Authority)

When you last shopped online, did you find it difficult to get what you wanted – with lots of other options you had to navigate through?

Have you ever wondered why cancelling a subscription is so difficult when all it took was a click of a button to sign up?

And have you noticed how some options come pre-selected while others require a lot more effort to choose?

Online, businesses have much greater control over our interactions with them. Every bit of a website, online platform and app is designed by businesses, and can be personalised and optimised. These design choices often help consumers, but what happens when they don’t?

As the UK’s competition and consumer authority, we have launched a new programme of work focusing on understanding how digital design can influence people’s decisions. The programme aims to bolster existing research and learn from past cases, in particular, focusing on gaps in our knowledge about the scale, prevalence and harm of certain design practices.

We recently launched the “Online Rip-Off Tip-Off” consumer campaign as part of this programme, and today we are publishing 2 new papers: a discussion paper and an evidence review…