3 cool ideas to make CAPTCHA less annoying
Do you like captcha? You don’t need to be a clairvoyant to know that the answer is no. However, as an understanding web designer or developer, you know that this inconvenience is a necessity. But wait, is a fuzzy string of letters the best? what can we offer?
If users hate them so much, why not come up with something new? Let’s try to develop this idea and see what happens.
Is captcha EVIL?
We’ve all been through this. You try to go to a website or fill out a form, but without decoding the deformed text, you can’t proceed to the next step.
Some people don’t give it much thought and take it for granted, but others get furious at the sight of this window. They are not difficult to understand, just look at the screenshot below! In preparation for this article, I visited a site that contains CAPTCHA. And so luck, this is the first captcha that I came across:
Isn’t this the best captcha you’ve ever seen? The first part is quite distorted, but at least you can make it out. But the second part is almost completely outside the visible frame! After thinking about how often this happens, I double-clicked the update button and found another ” emerald»:
I’m not an idiot, but it’s just beyond my capabilities! In cases where all the text fragments were inside the window, I got something like this:
And so, what do we have here ” a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a”Trying to guess what is depicted there, I feel like a short-sighted child at an eye doctor’s appointment.
And finally, my friend claims that he encountered this amazing captcha a few days ago. Obviously, we’ve gone from simple words to complex equations!
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It’s not that bad
“When you pass the CAPTCHA, you’re helping to turn scanned books into digital text”.
To be honest, captcha isn’t exactly evil. They have a very important mission. Spam is a real terrorist compared to a captcha that just tries to stop it.
You see, there are smart bastards who come up with ways to make the world worse. They invent spam bots that crawl all over the network and usually ruin everything. With captcha, we have the ability to make sure that users are actually people, not blood-sucking spam demons.
Some captchas are more advanced. For example, the CAPTCHA shown above is a special type known as “reCAPTCHA”. These captchas actually use people as OCR scanners. When you pass the CAPTCHA, you’re helping to turn scanned books into digital text. This is a very noble activity that helps the written treasures of the past to live in the digital age.
Is that all we can do?
“Of course, you can say that someone’s solution to a problem sucks, but can you think of something better?»
It’s easy to complain, it’s true, especially if we don’t take into account the valuable function that CAPTCHA performs. However, this will not change anything. Of course, you can say that someone’s solution to a problem sucks, but can you think of something better?
I truly believe that we can do this. CAPTCHA is a great idea in theory, but in practice it sucks. We all hate it, but unfortunately, this method of preventing spam is ingrained in the developer community. It is extremely popular, and I have hardly seen anyone try to improve it, moving away from the conventional model.
The problem is not that it exists, or even that captcha is popular. The real problem is that we do not offer new ideas and do not try to change it for the better. Guys, this is a great idea, but let’s come up with something less annoying.
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In light of this, I would like to start by discussing some of the alternatives that come to mind. In my opinion, they are more harmless to the user’s mental health.
Why not just ask users a question? Let’s dispense with questions from Trivial Pursuit. This should be a question that almost anyone who can read in this language will answer without much effort. Here is an example:
This would be much easier than spending a lot of time trying to parse inappropriate text. Of course, this is a fairly simple question that the bot can handle (although Wolfram Alpha did not pass my test). But I’m sure we can come up with some better questions. And if each CAPTCHA asks such questions randomly, it will not be easy for spammers.
Image and answer options
The current CAPTCHA system is essentially just asking you a question about an image. Let’s continue with this idea, but in a different direction. Here is a quick example that I prepared using the multiple-choice format:
Photo source: Christian GE
As you can see, this is a very simple question for a person who can read. Even small children can pass this test. However, creating a program to interpret an image is much more difficult. Also, this captcha can be complicated by using some abstract images of the object. Perhaps a sketch or some cartoon clip art.
A simple question about an image
If for some reason you don’t like the idea of multiple-choice answers, give it up! We can still use simple images to create questions that users can answer. The example below shows how this can be done:
Photo source: keepon
How many bananas? Of course three! It’s that simple. A distinctive feature of this format is that you can have several different questions for the same image, and the spam bot will never know which one is appropriate. How many bananas? Are there oranges in the photo?