Inkblot Passwords

By Deane Barker on July 21, 2003

Is It Just My Imagination?: Here’s the first (of many, I’m sure) thing I found interesting at the Microsoft Research Site. Inkblot passwords. You don’t input a password — instead, you look at an inkblot and describe what you see.

“Stubblefield and Simon found out that once we’ve identified the inkblot we see it the same way every time. And even though people sometimes see similar things in inkblots, they describe it in different ways. For instance, almost all the users in their study identified the inkblot below as some type of flying person. But the users described their flying person differently, such as ‘evil flying henchman’ or ‘flying gardener.’ (Except one person who thought it was a man at a football game in Minnesota wearing a mascot moose hat and ear muffs – but writers are not your average user)”