Every day, over 200 million captchas are used as a security measure on websites around the world. In South Africa, we have many diverse languages, but most people are only able to speak one or two. Bilingo, an online language learning platform that teaches users new words and phrases in South Africa's native languages, wanted to put captchas to better use and help people learn a new language at the same time.
The captcha that teaches South Africans 11 official languages.
Everyone who uses web forms knows that captchas are ubiquitous, but also often feel like a waste of time. We needed to find a way to make filling out captchas more productive, and to help achieve Bilingo's goal of familiarising South Africans with more of their national languages.
Reimagine the captcha as a language learning tool, while retaining its functionality as an effective security measure for web forms.
Instead of showing the user a random array of characters, as in a traditional captcha, the code used in our custom-built iCaptcha would be a word in a South African language. After filling out the captcha, the user is given the translation of the word.
We released iCaptcha open-source and free of charge to the South African web community, ensuring adoption by some of the country's top websites. In the first 10 days of release, iCaptcha increased online awareness of Bilingo by 262%. The Western Cape Department of Education website now uses iCaptcha exclusively.