Bait and Switch

The user sets out to do one thing, but a different, undesirable thing happens instead. The most famous example of digital bait and switch was Microsoft’s misguided approach to getting people to upgrade their computers to Windows 10.

bait and switch

During 2016, users of earlier versions of windows where shown pop-up windows similar to that pictured above. As the year progressed, Microsoft became increasingly aggressive with the pop-ups. They started as an honest, optional call to action, but became increasingly deceptive. They switched the meaning of the “X” button at the top right to mean the opposite of what it normally means. In all other versions of Windows going back to the 1980s, this button means “close”. In this specific instance, they changed it to mean “Yes, I do want to upgrade my computer to Windows 10”. This caused a huge public backlash.