Sharp End: Orange ‘Captcha’

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Orange ‘Captcha’

Orange has added an extra feature to its online credit checking and activation system Enable, and it is a right royal pain. It has added an extra security feature known as a ‘Captcha’ system. The idea of incorporating Captcha into a website is to help prevent automated ‘Bots’ automatically trawling your website and making random posts.

It works by creating a series of random letters and/or numbers,  graphically presented on a web page, that the user has to enter before being allowed to progress to the next web page. If the digits do not match the actual digits displayed then access is denied until the correct sequence is entered.

The idea is great in principle but the implementation of it on Orange Enable is questionable. Firstly, why implement this in the first place? The only people who can currently use Enable are those that have already been approved by Orange and have been granted their own user names and passwords.

Therefore it is not possible for automated bots to make checks or posts as the user is first authenticated by Orange. Even if Orange was trying to clamp down on approved users automating banding checks, surely this can be stamped out much easier than using Captcha? 

The second reason Captcha is a nightmare on Enable is the font style of the generated images. It is really hard to tell what the images actually are due to a combination of the background image and the font style used. I used the Captcha system for the first time the other day and it took me eight attempts to get passed it.

Please Orange, re-think your stance on using Captcha. With customers in front of you when upgrading or activating a new connection the process should be simple and efficient, it certainly should not be as awkward and embarrassing as it has now been made. Is it really worth it? While you are at it please make Enable work on browsers other than Internet Explorer.


Phone Dealer Forum

The Phone Dealer Forum, a central online resource for anyone associated with the mobile phone industry, has undergone a major upgrade with many new features available or shortly available. The new layout focuses on improving the user experience whilst navigating and interacting with the forum.

One such enhancement is the ability to login with your Facebook credentials as well as synchronise status updates, profile info and pictures too. Please take a moment to visit the site and acquaint yourself with the new features/layout.

Full article in Mobile News issue 440 (June 1, 2009).

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