The Death of Captcha? Please?

by Matt Sullivan on January 24, 2014

My friends at the digital marketing agency SilverTech have done something so profoundly obvious, that it is also sheer genius: they have killed the need for captcha.

Captcha - Please, no more

If you aren’t familiar with the term “captcha”, you are most certainly familiar with it’s implementation. Basically, captcha is a method of differentiating people from “robots” on the web. Most typically you see it at the bottom of a form, where you’re required to read what looks like the scribbles of a drunk 7-year-old as a means of proving that an actual person is behind the form submission, not some automated bot.

Over the years, captcha has become a little more sophisticated, but it is still built on a few basic principles:

  1. It’s very difficult for computers to “see” images, in terms of interpreting what is being displayed.
  2. Making something hard for a human to read means that’s it’s pretty impossible for a computer to read.

As it now stands, the concept of captcha is pretty common and the words keep getting harder to read. Oh, and there’s the ability to have the words audibly played via speakers, should the scribbles prove too difficult.

But, is this really the best way to prove that I’m a living, breathing person? Is making something difficult for your clients & prospects the best way to get them to engage with you?

As SilverTech now proves: there is a better way.

For their newsletter sign-up, all they did was create a nifty control using CSS & Javascript that makes  the user follow a simple direction: slide this arrow to the right. Here are two screen grabs which hopefully illustrates the control (or you can see for yourself at the SilverTech blog).

Silvertech kills captcha Click to enlarge…

Silvertech really kills captcha Click to enlarge…

There are two things that I love about the simplicity of this control:

  1. The swipe not only proves that you’re a human, but greatly reduces the hurdle of finalizing the process.
  2. The swipe is the easiest means of interface via mobile & table devices, so this works across all mediums.

I don’t want the designers & developers at SilverTech to get inflated egos, but I think that this simplicity of design is on par with some of the things we saw in the first iPods & iPhones.

  • Travis Warren

    Agreed. Brilliant!

  • miryam daniel

    I agree that CAPTCHA is not the best human validation tool, but calling this product “sheer genius” is exaggerated. First, it does not seem safe and second, there are already better and safer CAPTCHA alternatives which is also much easier for mobile & tablets usage.

  • Jeff L

    I don’t see it on the SilverTech blog. In fact, what I DO see SilverTech using on their blog when attempting to leave a comment on a blog post is a CAPTCHA?

    Also, I’m curious how it works with screen readers?

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