vidoop captcha

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I HATE CAPTCHAs. I’ve sworn never to use them for years now. I guess it falls in line with my politics – I refuse to treat all commenters like spammers. I use Askimet here, and even it eats legitimate comments once in a while. But at least it’s invisible to users – no need to make everyone pass a Turing Test to do anything.

Vidoop’s new CAPTCHA system, pictured above, is atrocious. They advertise it as “computer proof but not human proof.” It stands as a perfect example of what I hate: increasingly difficult hoops for customers to jump through to use a product or service. I get a headache just thinking about the possibility that one day I might have to take tests like this one every single time I sign-up to try a new web service, participate in an online discussion, or even leave feedback or ask for support from a service I pay for.

Even if it turns out to be easier than deciphering and correctly typing blurry numbers and letters, I worry that it may in fact be, on occasion, human proof.

Let’s look at their demo. Which ones is “castles”? It must be S, even though that doesn’t look like a castle to me. In this case, there’s nothing else that seems to qualify so it should work out. But assuming they’re putting one of their best examples forward as a demo, what do their less-than-best ones look like? Is there really no chance that sometimes it might be a little confusing which picture they want? Especially for people who aren’t native English speakers.

Designers & developers: your job is to decrease the number of annoyances in people’s lives, not increase them. Your job is not to keep spammers out, it’s to keep customers in.