As a foreword, I've been extremely busy with my semi-new UX Strategy contract role at a non-profit over the past month and I obviously haven't been writing here. The two main (personal) issues I have are:
1) I don't take a relaxed enough approach to these blogs and as such I don't write unless I feel like it'd be deserving of a Medium.com article in content and quality, and
2) Accessing Squarespace to write a blog does not feel user-friendly in the slightest. If writing a new blog post from my mobile phone was more accessible, at least more accessible than how it currently feels, then perhaps I'd do these braindumps, quips, and updates more often.
Hilariously Bad Security Fields
Anyways, yesterday whilst doing a little competitor research, I came across one of the worst "security" fields that I have ever seen. You'll likely come across web forms with an interactive security checkpoint during activity touchpoints like account sign-ups, logins, and finalising purchases. This particular site I found was no different, however their approach quickly felt more like a joke to me when I first stumbled upon the following field during an account registration...
Oh... oh no. Where to begin? Usability issues aside for a second, this poorly written question alone is riddled with silly flaws. "What colour is the grass?" Whose grass are we talking about? I live on the 10th floor of a building and have no grass. My partner's mum has lusciousgreen grass. Her neighbour's grass is a dead, scratchy brown. The american collegiate football pitch of the Boise State Broncos is a dazzling blue. All of these could surely be correct answers to the posed question, yet the field's validation tells me that I'm wrong? I'm sorry, security field, that you can't listen to a voice of grammatical logic and reason!
Wait, what's this? There's another! At least this one objectively is pretty easy to say that the sky is blue, relative to Earth that is. What color is the sky on Mars though? Or Venus? Or some other distant planet? Specificities matter! The sky over Disneyland, California is sadly quite a smokey orange right now due to rampant wildfires. I even then looked up how various color-blind aflicted people may see the sky, but it seems like at the worst, they see a greyish-blue. As you may have guessed, "greyish-blue" isn't an acceptable answer. How pedantic haha.
The grass is back! I found the final iteration of this field on a My Account page, but this time they finally corrected one major usability issue and moved the question label where it belongs, outside of the input box. NNGroup has a very popular article on exactly why this usability is harmful, and I highly recommend giving it a quick read: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/form-design-placeholders/