Let's play Pictionary!

Remember when I was complaining about being unable to read Yahoo Mail’s verification image a few weeks ago?

Looks like I’m not alone getting frustrated with this trend of adding Captchas to every booking form you fill in or comment you want to leave on someone’s blog. Seth finds himself fighting with the Ticketmaster site, trying to guess their awful captcha!


How user-unfriendly can a site get? Keeping in mind that sites like these have as main goal to take bookings. This type of mindboggling image can’t be helping their conversion and would be enough to convince me to book my tickets elsewhere, if possible.

Michael, from figby.com, also points out an idiotic registration captcha. “If you want users to sign up, please don’t use a CAPTCHA system in your site unless it’s really easy for ordinary people to read without pulling the graphic into Photoshop for sharpening and enlargement. If you don’t want users to sign up, you could just remove the registration page rather than torturing people with one of these MENSA-level CAPTCHAs.”

6 thoughts on “Let's play Pictionary!

  1. Jen

    I’ve also become annoyed with the captcha system and have gotten a few wrong. The one above is horrible. They aren’t very effective since they fool humans, too!

  2. Hal

    Not to mention the usability problems associated with Captchas as they discriminate against blind people surfing the web.

    What about “What is this sound?”

  3. Erika

    I’m trying to get tickets to a show here in Vancouver, and honestly, I’m considering flat-out forgetting about it because getting tickets is such a hassle! It’s like gambling! And I’m not good at it. The worst part is they just made it more annoying by adding captchas, and I just went through 2 I couldn’t read. Not as bad as that one, though, yikes. You should see me squinting, mumbling “muuusiiimm…..nnnn..oooo nnn? musinnn..ton?”

  4. Joelle Nebbe-Mornod (aka iphigenie)

    Yes, many captchas are annoying, but I suspect we all are equally enraged if, for desirable events where there is a limit of 2 tickets per purchase, all tickets got snatched by some clever automated robot programmed to buy 1000 sets 5 seconds apart – the backlash on ticketmaster would be huge if they were open to exploitation like that (and i bet they have been, since there is a lot of profit in that, hence the more and more crazy captcha).

    I think sooner or later there will be a special combination of open id and identity verification (perhaps the good ole personal key) which an individual can only have one of (they can have many unverified ones but only one verified one, somehow) for sites where abuse is too tempting.

    For most sites, though, the pain of allowing a machine in is less than the pain inflicted on real users so people should use simple human checking techniques – some that dont expect a good understanding of one language, if possible.

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