Sick of reCAPTCHA
Also, the captch is super hard to read.. I had to reload 3 times before I got one I could actually make out.
First, people who say this simply do not understand how reCAPTCHA works. One of the words should be legible; the other may or may not be. That’s because one of the two words is taken from some scanned book, and the OCR software could not read it.
People who understand this know they do NOT have to keep hitting reload. Instead, just type your best guess into reCAPTCHA. I’ve left a lot of comments on my own blog, and can only remember a single incident where I had to reload the CAPTCHA. Every other time, even if I couldn’t really read one of the words with confidence, I just typed my best guess and made it right through.
Observation #1 does not matter. It is unrealistic to expect people to research how your CAPTCHA works before they “get it”. I have received a large number of complaints about reCAPTCHA, and it’s making my blog suck. My own blog content is bad enough, now I have to deal with extraneous technical complexity.
This brings me to a larger point about software usability. As technologists, we have deep technical understanding of how our own software works. It is far too easy to get defensive and perhaps even angry at “dumb users” who can’t figure things out. All too often, we are blind to the usability flaws in our own software.
reCAPTCHA is a brilliant idea, but fatally flawed. It presents hopelessly garbled text to users who generally don’t really understand what reCAPTCHA is trying to accomplish. Even if I were to include some detailed educational material explaining the concept, most people would not read my explanation. And who could blame them? We’re all overloaded with technical noise.
At this point, reCAPTCHA damages the usability of my blog, as evidenced by numerous comments and complaints from visitors. Explaining how reCAPTCHA works is not my concern. Making my blog easy for people to use — and blocking spammers — are my only concerns.
Sooner or later, when I get around to it, I’ll have to find another solution. That makes me sad, because I’m a big fan of the research behind reCAPTCHA. I really do think it is a great concept, but “not annoying customers” is a bigger concern for most web site owners.