Unreadable CAPTCHA

It's OK - we have no idea what this says either.

When you’re filling out a form online and you get to the end… you know what’s coming. That blob of unreadable text you have to fill in to prove you’re not a computer. The problem is, you can’t read it either. Survey after survey has shown it to be the most common annoyance of web users. Most terrifying for site owners is what the frustration represents: all your efforts to build, maintain, and market an effective site have come to fruition. Someone has found you and is about to “convert” – to contact you and start a dialog. However, they abandon the process because they can’t figure out what that CAPTCHA says (or if they do, it takes them 14 seconds on average). Do they come back? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

ROC IT Out moved away from CAPTCHA’s long ago. We prefer a challenge question – a simple question that a computer is unlikely to be able to auto complete, but is simple for a human. For example, look at the math question on FitGroove Fitness: http://www.fitgroovefitness.com/contact-us/. The question changes every time, but anyone can answer it.

If less frustrating, but equally effective, solutions like this have been out there – why haven’t they caught on very quickly? Simply put, there wasn’t a good reason for site owners to go through the effort of making the change. Users became used to the frustratoin because they saw it everywhere. Most sites had the same terrible experience, so users came to accept it – leaving site owners with little incentive to do something different… until now.

A company called Solve Media has introduced new technology that implements advertising into the challenge question. Users are presented a logo and asked to provide a word or phrase they associate with the brand. This is brilliant. The only brands this would work with are the brands with the buying power to pay for loads of inventory. Users get a better experience. Site owners get less abandoned forms (and potentially a cut of ad revenue). Advertisers get an audience they can prove looked at their ad AND insight into what people think about them.

Will it catch on? It sure has a shot – especially with high volume site Ticketmaster having already bought in.