Looking for a way to irritate the heck out of visitors to your website? Make them decipher one of these garbled, cryptic CAPTCHAs during the registration process:
I pulled the image above from the registration page for an online ice hockey forum. (I’m in the market for some new gear and needed advice from other players.) After a few minutes of squinting, some cursing and several failed attempts at typing in the correct series of letters, numbers and hieroglyphics, I gave up and moved on to a competing forum, where I got the information I was looking for.
What a lost opportunity.
I understand the value of these CAPTCHAs, a hilariously nerdy acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” In other words, they screen out spammers. But there’s no reason to subject your users to such torture.
Check out the version of CAPTCHA used by sites like Craigslist:
See? Nice and legible.
The best part? This newer version, dubbed reCAPTCHA, is more than just a spam bot screener: it’s part of a global effort to help digitize books, newspapers and old radio shows. Each time someone completes a reCAPTCHA on a site like Craigslist, they’ve actually helped digitize a small piece of scanned text from an old book or other piece of content that computers can’t always recognize.
So do your users – and the world – a favor and upgrade your site. Here’s the pain-free registration form.