Deceptive Patterns and FAST

A presentation at HalfStack Phoenix in in Phoenix, AZ, USA by Todd Libby

Deceptive patterns (also widely known as “dark patterns”) are all over the Web. I’ll speak to the accessibility impact deceptive patterns and “dark” patterns have accessibility-wise, inclusively, moving away from using “dark” patterns as vernacular, and my introduction to taking these patterns and my work in the W3C to have these published in WCAG3.

There is a lot of work being done in the Functional Needs group of the W3C to introduce these to FAST. I’ll talk about FAST, what it means to accessibility, and to users, developers, designers, and everyone in-between in the organization.

I’ll also introduce people to the Framework for Accessible Specification of Technologies (FAST) which advises creators of technical specifications on ensuring their technology meets the needs of users with disabilities.

It primarily addresses web content technologies but also relates to any technology that affects web content sent to users, including client-side APIs, transmission protocols, and interchange formats.

Specifications that implement these guidelines make it possible for content authors and user agents to render the content in an accessible manner to people with a wide range of abilities.


The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.

  • Framework for Accessible Specification of Technologies (FAST)

    Framework for Accessible Specification of Technologies (FAST) advises creators of technical specifications how to ensure their technology meets the needs of user with disabilities.

  • Color Connotations and Racial Attitudes

    The colors black and white have long carried opposite connotations. Douglas Longshore goes into the history and the vernacular behind color and racial attitudes.

  • How White American Children Develop Racial Biases in Emotion Reasoning

    For decades, affective scientists have examined how adults and children reason about others’ emotions. Yet, our knowledge is limited regarding how emotion reasoning is impacted by race-that is, how individuals reason about emotions displayed by people of other racial groups.

  • W3C TAG Ethical Web Principles

    The web should be a platform that helps people and provides a positive social benefit. As we continue to evolve the web platform, we must therefore consider the consequences of our work. The following document sets out ethical principles that will drive the W3C’s continuing work in this direction.

  • Ethical Principles for Web Machine Learning

    This document discusses ethical issues associated with using Machine Learning and outlines considerations for web technologies that enable related use cases.

  • FAST Checklist

    This is a draft checklist to support the Framework for Accessibility in the Specification of Technologies (FAST) prepared by the Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group. The goal of FAST is to describe the features that web technologies should provide to ensure it is possible to create content that is accessible to users with disabilities. The full framework references an analysis of user requirements and describes how technologies, content authoring, and user agents work together to meet these needs and provide comprehensive guidance to technology developers. This checklist extracts that information at a high level to aid in the self-review of technologies. Specification developers can use this to help ensure the technology will address features likely to be raised during the horizontal review from accessibility proponents.

    Web technologies address a variety of needs, and play a variety of roles in web accessibility. Content languages describe primary content, styling languages impact presentation, APIs enable manipulation and data interchange, and protocols tie it all together. Each of these types of technologies can impact accessibility.

    This checklist is organized by the types of features that technology may provide. If the technology provides such a feature, the checklist items under the heading are applicable and should be examined. If the technology does not provide such a feature, the checklist items under the heading are not applicable and can be passed over.