The Saga of Spud’s UX Misadventures

A sketch of a user journey of an unidentified mobile app ending with an explosion

Spud suddenly gets sucked into the Internet and immediately finds himself in the middle of one UX crime and dark pattern after another as he tries to get back into the real world.

Our story begins somewhere on the dark side of the moon (no relation to Pink Floyd).
Spud, a moon creature with antennas on his head, is sitting in front of his computer. He had been trying to connect to Earth’s Internet for months. He is happy today. “Finally!”, he cheers lifting his arms up in the air.
Suddenly, a coronal mass ejection from the sun envelopes the Earth and its moon in electrons and protons... (A coronal mass ejection is also known as a burp, for comedic reasons)
Meanwhile, the solar wind creates awe-inspiring auroras on Earth. For instance, a woman on Earth is pointing to the auroras in the night sky and saying “oooooo” while her companion is too distracted to notice because he is using his cellphone.
Back on the moon, however, Spud is sucked into his computer monitor! Spud yells out “Hey!! What the-?!”
Spud soars through the VPN tunnel and lands right inside the Earth website he had been browsing! (in the comic, I also included hackers trying to listen in on Spud’s VPN connection).
Spud finds himself sitting in front of closed double doors with a sign hanging that reads “Accept cookies”. There is a guard leaning out of a window at the top of the double doors. He says to Spud, “You can’t come in here no way no how without first accepting cookies!”
Spud replies, “I’ll take chocolate chip!”. “Ok, you’re good to enter”, the guard replies and he opens the door. (in the comic, the sign that read “accept cookies” now reads “Thanks!”)
A while after entering, Spud notices a giant chocolate chip cookie is watching him and taking notes.
Spud points to the cookie and asks the guard at the double doors, “Excuse me, what’s this?”. “You gave us permission to track you”, replies the guard.
“Track me?! What for?”, Spud asks angrily.
“That’s for us to know and you to find out!”, replies the guard as he slams the door. Spud isn’t bothered, though. He walks away and says to himself, “Meh. I’m sure it’s harmless.”
He then asks “What could possibly go wrong?” as the cookie continues to take notes.
“Ok”, Spud says as he looks around. “Now to find how to get out of here and back on the moon… Man, what a cluttered navbar”.
Suddenly, Spud is startled by an unexpected popup who says “Sign up for our newsletter!”
“You’re blocking my view”, says Spud. “No problem!”, the popup replies. “Sign up and I’ll pop right back out, lickety-split”.
Spud looks around and says “Oh great. I can’t find the close button”.
He looks around some more. “I can’t even see the footer!”
In a huff, Spud angrily stomps away. “Grrr, I’m outta here”. But the popup calls out to him and says, “Sign up so you won’t get FOMO!”.
Spud runs screaming as the popup chases him and says “Please please please please please”.
Luckily, Spud looks up and sees another browser tab! “Another tab!”, he says.
“I hope this works”, Spud thinks to himself as he leaps into the air aiming to leave the tab he is currently in and jump into the new one.
It works! Spud lands inside the new tab.
“Now to see where I am”, Spud says.
He finds himself standing in a hallway of many doors with the words “click here” written on them.
Spud walks towards one of the doors and says, “Let’s see where this one goes to”.
He opens the door and screams out ”Monsters!”.
He quickly shuts the door. “I’ll try the next door. Hm, there’s a note hanging on the door knob”.
Spud reads the note. “It says ‘this is a recipe for pea soup”.
Spud walks over to all the doors and reads their notes one by one. “This link downloads an annual report… this seems to go to an about page… press releases I think. ‘Help’. I’ll try this one.
Spuds walks through the door and finds himself in the dark. “Hey!” he says. “Who turned off the lights? Good thing for accessible design… [long pause] Oh great”.

To be continued…

What fate awaits Spud as he tries to browse the web in the dark?

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