Sandbox hosts SDXD for Workshop: Battling Dark UX


Hosting a large workshop can be a challenge. For SDXD, large workshops have become a hallmark of their programming. SDXD, San Diego Experience Design, is a professional networking and education organization that serves UX research and design practitioners to foster community, professional growth, and inspiration. Their meetups are a catalyst for a vibrant San Diego experience design community.

SDXD chose to host its October event at Sandbox. Their topic, Dark UX, had participants explore ways that the UX and design industries affect user behaviors on websites through devious means. Their goal: know what it is to know how to effectively communicate the negative impacts to brand and user trust. The large space and abundant resources enabled participants to explore the topic, network and leave inspired.


What we learned:

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

SDXD used Halloween masks to define groups, when one set came up short, they used that as an advantage to how they allotted members to groups.

Short presentations with worksheets, and table tents can foster deep dialog.

SDXD focuses on group discussion over long presentations. This forces them to use handouts and other tools to communicate the challenge at hand. It also means that those handouts and, in this case, table tents were brief and scan-able; providing minimal description to kept people on point.

When people are having fun it’s easier to learn something new.

Working on past examples didn’t help people get into the topic easily. Participants chose to work with individual’s birthday party to come up with a real example that has social implications they could work with. This allowed people working on the Dark UX patterns to really understand the ramifications of those patterns on the event and on the people who would be invited.

Dark UX affects everyone.

Large corporations, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Linkedin, have used it to affect their bottom line at the expense of their customers.

Articles and resources Dark Patterns, the Sinster Side of UX Throwing light on dark UX After lawsuit Settlement Linkedin’s dishonest design is now a 13 Million problem Resisting the dark side, a primer on dark UX patterns


Having a large Meetup like SDXD use Sandbox for their events makes the space come alive. Micro-communities flourish around the food and beverages; the room’s acoustics allowed for quiet and passionate conversations to take place simultaneously without affecting team dynamics.

Sandbox was created to foster community. It was a pleasure to see San Diego’s user experience professionals make it their home for the evening.

You can read more about the event, see additional photos and attend future SDXD events here:


Have a plan: Know what 1-3 points you want your audience to leave with. Everything should drive towards those key points.

Be flexible: Things don’t always go as planned. We recommend having alternate solutions if something or someone fails.

Rehearse: Walk through your activities in advance. Make sure they make sense and have a logical flow.

Ask for help: The team at Sandbox is experienced at workshops for small teams and large audiences. We’re here to help you and your event be a success.

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