Are You A Robot? Yes [ ] No [X]
So you’ve spent a long time filling in that application online, or sending a message via a contact form – you think its all over and you can get on with life, you could go walk the dog, perhaps build a shed – but no, that CAPTCHA pops into your screen as you scroll down, and you are faced with that undeniable death trap that will cause your brain to work (who wants that?).
Original captcha forms were rather easy, just displaying 4-5 characters that can be easily read and typed in. I guess these weren’t so bad, but as with most things, they came with a sell by date.
Income ‘Spam bots’ (Robots that spam / Slaves of the interverse), these are the reason why captchas were invented. They are built to attack your contact form to send spam, malware, or any kind of un-informative messages. The robots (presumably built by humans) have started to become smarter, so over time captchas have become harder to prevent their mass scale attacks.
Google’s ReCaptcha, possibly being the most used in recent years, in my opinion is probably the most ugly and unworkable captcha I’ve seen out of the ‘main’ bunch & I would rather avoid using this from any websites.
It comes with a few colour themes, which no matter how hard you try, never look good – but it works, and its secure, which *I guess* is the most important thing. Most of the time I would admit it generates something you can just about read, sometimes it is completely unreadable and you are forced to refresh.
I feel that captchas like this often causes users stress, depending on the viewer – which is the last thing you want when users are browsing your website. Some statistics show that with a captcha enabled 88% of Spam is reduced, but this also causes a high number of failed conversions, but its hard to determine whether its spam, or people unable to figure out the captcha.
Present Day alternatives
In recent years, many companies have been creating alternatives; I think the main focus is to achieve something that should be quick, easy and somewhat fun.
‘Areyouahuman’ Captcha asks you to finish a picture or diagram, something any ‘person’ should be able to understand and complete quickly.
MotionCAPTCHA as another basic example, asks you to draw a simple shape with the mouse.
Both examples are definitely a step in the right direction, as well as that – the more captchas there are, it puts more strain on the spam bots as they need to ‘figure out’ how each captcha works – and making them more fun than annoying definitely has its benefits. For the time being I think the general public are starting getting used to them, which is important, but perhaps one day, forms will be created in such a way that do not require any security messages.