CAPTCHA is the bane of all user experiences on the internet. They’re somewhat effective at stopping spam-bots but they’re seemingly merciless at preventing humans from being able to read its cryptic text, even if they often do create hilarious unintended meanings. Nevertheless, a solution for this ancient security system is being developed by a new startup out of Detroit and all it took was a bit of smart design and user-engagement.
PlayThru is a new product by the folks at AreYouAHuman that serves as a CAPTCHA alternative by using games to stop spam-bots. Playing a game might sound more complicated but the tasks are, thankfully, very clear and simple because users only have to click and drag objects to verify their humanity.
The puzzles are simple enough for a child to solve but are just as (if not more) effective than traditional CAPTCHA is. However the true value with using PlayThru lies in the positive user-experience these little interactions bring because CAPTCHA often causes people to leave your site. Reid Tatoris, Co-Founder of AreYouAHuman, said: “Research indicates that there is a 25 – 30% increase in user dropoffs on your website when you put CAPTCHA on your site.” This makes sense because just about every CAPTCHA experience is associated with something negative. Are you downloading something shady from a file-uploading service? Did you forget your password, again? CAPTCHA is right there with you forcing you to squint your eyes and tilt your head sideways to decipher its language. PlayThru is available to prevent these experiences by analyzing user-interactions within each game by studying mouse movement.
Replacing CAPTCHA with PlayThru games has benefits for business as well. Tatoris also said that testing PlayThru has demonstrated “increased conversion rates of 40 – 60%” for its users, which is impressive for a service that is free. PlayThru is such an interesting product because it demonstrates the importance of control and agency for user-experiences. It is no coincidence that the sloppy CAPTCHA has a dropoff rate that is nearly equivalent to the increased conversion rate of PlayThru. Tatoris has said AreYouAHuman is concerned most about making the Internet a better place and I think never having to deal with CAPTCHA again would be absolutely amazing.
And in true gamified fashion, AreYouAHuman is also holding an open contest looking for anyone to come up with more games for their PlayThru service to win a fuul year of personalized PlayThru service.