While reading Lifehacker, I came across a post on a new web application Fuser that will retrieve all of your e-mail and social networking messages from Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo amongst others, and will display them in one place to allow for easy management. Since they are offering a free beta account, I decided to check it out.
I’ve spent the last 20 minutes trying to create an account for myself, but I keep failing to correctly enter the captcha code. I understand that captcha helps prevent bots from using Internet based services, but why did Fuser have to make their captcha code so tough?
At times I find it difficult to identify the letters that are printed on captcha images. IN the case of Fuser, it was exceptionally tough because their captcha algorithm generates images that have distorted dark-gray letters printed on a light-gray pattern (see image). I clicked the “I can’t read this” link several times to request for alternate images, what I got was equally tough, if not more than the original images.
I’m no captcha expert, but doesn’t it make sense to simplify the captcha identification a bit easier each time the user requests a new image?
Is Fuser Listening
Clearly, the brains behind Fuser have gone overboard in trying to safeguard their service from inappropriate use. My advice to Fuser is that they should make their own captcha more accessible than it currently is. Maybe W3C’s guidelines on Alternatives to Visual Turing Tests on the Web might point them to the right direction.
The irony is that Fuser’s USP promises to make e-mail and message management simple, but signing up to use this very service is anything but simple.
Adding Insult to Injury
Being a good netizen that I am, I tried tried providing the above as feedback to the folks who manage Fuser. But apparently they want none of it because the feedback form on their web site also requires the user to solve a captcha before sending the message. Yes, this captcha was as tough as the ones I wanted to complain about.