More and more websites are using CAPTCHA to avoid spam, but they’re typically bad for your business as CAPTCHAs have major usability problems. Most visitors simply get them wrong.
From the perspective of a web developer, a CAPTCHA may seem like a great solution to prevent spam. However, from a business perspective CAPTCHAs can be pure poison as they have a lot of usability problems:
Some visitors will leave you site immediately when they see your CAPTCHA simply because they don’t understand what it’s for (problem 3). The visitors that do understand it, but are either unable to see it (problem 4), can’t read it (1) or mistyped it (2), will get so frustrated that there’s a good chance they will leave your site too.
Are you willing to take this chance? My suggestion is to set up a split test where you remove the CAPTCHA and then compare the value of the extra conversions against the extra hassle of deleting some additional spam.
If you absolutely, positively must implement a CAPTCHA on your site, then at least consider these -6- 10 ways of making you captcha more user friendly:
What’s your opinion on CAPTCHAs?
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Anyways: I don’t understand is how for example a lot of wordpress-sites can easily live without a captcha. Are they doing something with the email to prevent spam? Something else? What are you using(own blog-software I guess)?
WordPress blogs have Akismet installed by default I believe. You may need an API-key but it is free.
This blog is custom-built in Ruby on Rails (so we can easily implement various kinds of tracking) and we have a very simple system that just looks at any new comment and if it has more than two links in it, the comment is marked for review and one of us then have to manually approve or delete it.
great post, hate those Captchas
Do you know what % of websites are abandoned due to bad captcha?
No I don’t have such statistic. CAPTCHA abandon rates are very individual to each site so any example statistics wouldn’t have much use to anyone, but try to do an A/B split test, with and without the CAPTCHA, and see which one works best. I’m sure you’ll reach the same conclusion we did.
Great post. I’d love to use it at Fearless Competitor, if you don’t mind. I’ll link back here.
Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
Find New Customers
Glad you liked it. Feel free to do so as long as you attribute.
Here’s one I’d like to add:
Use a simpler CAPTCHA. For instance, I’ve seen "What is the sum of 7 plus 5? Or give me a few words and tell me type the third word. Those are much easier for humans and damned near impossible for SPAM.
Great tip Jeff, thanks for sharing.
If you still need a CAPTCHA tip 8:
Use a captcha which allows the user to guess the word, a minor (one character wrong or so) is accepted.
A audio button for visually impaired users
Make use of the 200+ million captchas solved by humans every day-
Recaptcha (http://www.google.com/recaptcha) uses words scanned from books, the words entered by humans are then put together and voilá, the books have been digitalized.
All great tips, added them all. Thank you George.
Good post, I like some points but i would go for using catcha and thanks for adding what if we still want to use catcha, good things to consider, cheers, raj
I made my own Ajax CAPTCHA http://mywebs.biz/Captcha/ . It implements everything the author suggests, and then some. Like the “Zoom” buttons. I would appreciate comments, suggestions and feedback as I’m considering making it available for downloading.
I would like to add user suggestion #8 to mine but that isn’t possible since the answer is one way encrypted. It must perfectly match or fail. #9 is on TODO list.
NOTE that this form is disabled and is only for evaluating the CAPTCHA.
Thanks for the helpful article, it confirms I’m headed in the right direction here.
What is this “conversion rate” you keep talking about? I don’t see how this has anything to do with converting anything.
On number 3 of the top list, you misspelled “feel” as “fell”.
better don’t use Captcha at all. The cutest that it could be – it’s still annoying and insecure. Robots can read it, and it doesn’t stop human spammers. I suggest using Keypic, you’ll feel the difference. Users don’t do anything, all is done by the system itself.
Use a “honeypot” — an invisible field (for example “time zone”) that only SPAM-Bots will find and get rid of CPATCHAs all together.
Use a “honeypot” — an invisible field (for example “time zone”) that only SPAM-bots will find and get rid of CAPTCHAs all together.
Captcha’s are very stupid…
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