If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m in love with Bill Maher. You might not agree with his politics, his ideology, or his bad language, but you’ve gotta admit that he has a knack for putting people in their place.
At the end of each episode, Bill Maher gives his New Rules — an editorial monologue on current events and pop culture. On April 30th, he targeted a bane of many in the user experience profession — CAPTCHA (“Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”).
Captcha is a method for websites to verify that the user is in fact a human and not a malicious computer program. Coincidentally it was invented at my alma mater Carnegie Mellon University, so my apologies for bashing it. From a technical perspective it’s great, but from a usability perspective it can be a total dead end. It completely interrupts a user’s interaction with the site (as well as their train of thought), challenging them to correctly enter the distorted letters and numbers displayed before them, which are quite often impossible to decipher.
Captcha got on Bill Maher’s radar. Watch what he had to say (it’s brief):
What do you think of CAPTCHA? What alternatives have you seen or implemented that accomplish the necessary safety precautions, but are still natural and easy for people to use?
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