CAPTCHAs are supposed to help stop spambots, but they stop real users just as often. The reCAPTCHA is the worst. With them becoming even harder to read, many people leave the site instead of trying to decipher the jibberish they’re presented with. Ironically enough, the spambots do a better job with CAPTCHAs than humans. If you don’t want visitors to leave your site, try one of these five user-friendly CAPTCHA alternatives instead.
Add A Hidden Field
Spambots are designed to fill in every field in a form. Adding a hidden field helps you distinguish between spam and human visitors. The spambot will fill in the field while humans never see it. Simply discard any forms that include the hidden field. Adding a few lines of code behind the scenes helps prevent spam and keeps visitors on your site.
Opt For Akismet For comments
Forms aren’t the only spam targets. Comment sections are major spam playgrounds for both spambots and spammy humans. Akismet is easy to incorporate and studies every comment to determine whether it’s spam or not. The longer you use it, the better it becomes at automatically filtering spammy comments so you don’t have to. It works in the background so users are never bothered.
Solve A Problem
A regular CAPTCHA is a garbled mess of letters and numbers that are often impossible to read. Instead of making it so confusing, ask visitors to solve a simple math problem instead. The text is easy to read and the problems are typically super simple, even for 1st graders. They only take a few seconds, keeping visitors from getting discouraged.
An alternative to addition or subtraction problems is asking what’s next in a pattern. For instance, a series of “Square, Circle, Triangle, Square, Circle” would ask users what comes next. The answer would obviously be Triangle.
If you want a more fun alternative, have users play a quick game. Tic-Tac-Toe is a popular option since everyone knows how to play it. The game has several moves already filled in and asks users to make the winning move. It’s visually appealing and doesn’t really require the user to think at all.
Perform A Task
The task alternative is really a free for all type of solution. You could have users pick which object doesn’t belong in a series, move the right object to a circle or re-order objects. Choose tasks that are simple. A variety of services offer randomly generated tasks or you could create your own if you know how to code.
Each of these alternatives help protect against spam. While no solution is perfect, especially since human crews are often hired to decipher anti-spam guards, it’s much better than using zero protection. If you notice visitors leaving your site after incorporating a specific type of CAPTCHA alternative, try another. After all, pleasing your visitors is key to building a following.