Internet in Danish Trains. Designed to make you pay?

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If you pay for a first class ticket in Danish trains you get free internet – as well as coffee and Danish newspapers. However if you speak English, you may not know this.

When you log on the TDC wifi, this is what you see:

evil by design TDC_DSB internet

Only to the far left is something written – only in Danish – about internet on the train. Featured prominently is how to pay for internet, and how to get online as a trusted TDC customer.

A friend of mine, who has travelled many times for work from Copenhagen airport to Aarhus by train on first class, has been paying for internet each time untill I told him he gets free internet with his first class ticket.

As an English speaker if you see and happen to click on the picture to the left with the train. You are met with a page entirely in Danish about how to get online:

DSB internet kun på dansk

If you click on the “In English” to the right hand corner. You get not the same page in English on how to get online, but DSB’s main corporate page in English. Even if you explore a little and look at the page called Travelling by train in Denmark, there is no mention of free internet with a first class ticket.

Making something that is easy to use is hard. Very hard. Lots of trial and error. Testing and making sure that people intuitively understand. I fully recognise this.

However, if the mistake in design makes the customer pay more and not less. It makes me wonder if it really is a mistake, dark patterns also called or evil by design.

User Experience (UX) Designer/Consultant/Researcher Chris Nodder has written a book about evil by design. Me I just like the expression. There is a website run by a group of dedicated UX people for naming and shaming dark patterns.

Ohh and by the way, access to the internet on first class in Danish trains is quite easy. Once you know. You just enter your seat number and the number of your train carriage and this information can be used on all of you devices. So well done on this last bit.

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Karen Melchior

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