Dark UX Pattern: Lucidchart Pro Paid Upgrade

I’ve had to switch over my UX workflow software at work from Omigraffle to Lucidchart.

It’s a pretty cool software package — the pro level gives you some really basic wireframe capabilities. Like, really basic. You can’t even scale or resize the UI stencils like Omnigraffle or Sketch. However, it’s nice because even non-designers can go in and give a rough idea of what a UI could look like, in addition to what they think a user flow could be.

I was looking at it for some personal projects and signed up for the free trial. Seemed simple enough. They automatically upgraded me to the pro trial (of course they did!) for 7 days.

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I went in to go ahead to sign up for the annual subscription since I saw plenty of value. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind paying for apps and subscriptions to get rid of ads. I also really dislike paying for software subscriptions until I try it out for a long time, and over the last week I must’ve developed Stockholm Syndrome.

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From there I created a few assets, and mulled it over for the day. I decided to go ahead and upgrade at the end of the day. I supposed the site stripe worked on me and I finally went back to the site to click the link.

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I saw this page and was like, whattttt? I saw the $4.95 a month plan and wanted to pay that one up front for the year. However, when I went to click back on ‘Subscription Level’ on the side navigation, it wouldn’t take me back to the different tiers. It just kept me on this page. It kind of made sense — I mean, this was the current subscription level, but I wanted to see all the subscription levels.

I snuck around and tried to reset my navigation. I clicked up on user settings and got my boring user settings page. Seemed pretty normal.

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I then clicked on subscription level again. Aaaaand look at what I found:

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Quite sneaky, Lucidchart!

I dug in a little deeper to find that for a whopping $60 a year, I’d get access to nearly nothing…mostly anything I already get access to in Google Docs. Lame. For $110 a year, annually renewing, I get a cloud-based version of what I currently get with Omnigraffle. If I add in a one-time fee of $30 or so I can also get access to those docs on my iPad. And seeing as though I’ll be eating the cost of it as an independent contractor or teacher for the next 20+ years, that’s a whole lotta dollars compared to my one-time license of….

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Ugh. Why can’t I just buy a one-time license anymore? Even Sketch gives you a $99 one time licensing fee and I can create high fidelity UI visuals there. And why do I need a browser extension to create docs in offline mode? >:| I’m such a grumpy grandma.

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